Or it could be that the head of Apple in Europe is an Italian.
I think the mention of exclusivity is only for Italy. I think any 3G iPhone launch in Europe would be pretty much simultaneous in all countries if they really do drop the tied-to-contract model.
If Apple wants part of the call revenue stream, I suggest they take over Vodafone. They are so poorly run it wouldn't be hard for Steve to turn a tidy profit.