Vodafone, Not Google, Begins Selling UK Contract Nexus Ones

So much for Google’s grand bid to reinvent the mobile sales channel.

Mountain View on Friday morning emailed people who had expressed an interest, to say its Nexus One is now available to buy in the UK – over on Vodafone.co.uk, in its high street Vodafone (NYSE: VOD) stores or through its sales phone line.

We had expected customers could take out a mobile carrier contract whilst buying the handset from Google’s own google.com/phone. But, just as happened with Verizon in the States last week, that website now directs customers to the carrier’s website.

In the U.S., customers can still buy a new T-Mobile USA contract with the phone from Google’s site. And, on both sides of the pond, Google (NSDQ: GOOG) will still sell you the phone only for $529 – but UK retail for that is still priced in dollars, so Google clearly hasn’t got its distribution chain in order elsewhere yet.

The Vodafone/Verizon drop-outs are a blow to Google but a boon to consumers because the deal is cheap. On a standard £35-a-month, 24-month contract, the Nexus One comes free.

Google says Nexus One will soon be available in France via Voda’s SFR JV, and then in Germany, Italy, Holland and Spain.