It looks like iPhone hysteria has reached a new high [or low], as mobile operator 3 Australia turns to begging Apple to let it have the 3G device.

The company has posted a petition on its web site, calling for subscribers to post messages about how much they want the iPhone. Apparently, 3 hopes it can convince Apple to let it carry the device if it drums up enough interest.

Perhaps jumping the gun a bit, interested parties can also register their interest in the iconic device.

Rival Australian carriers Vodafone, Optus and Telstra have already announced plans to launch the iPhone 3G on July 11, meaning it’s just 3 that’s left out in the cold.

“We’ve been talking the folks at Apple to bring the iPhone to 3. With the official launch of the iPhone just two weeks away, it won’t be available right away, but we’re hopeful it will happen really soon,” the petition says.

But Ovum analyst Nathan Burley questions why 3 would want to generate even more iPhone hype when the operator is not offering the device? “Perhaps the registrations and potential iPhone 3G sales can get 3 over the line with discussions at Apple. Perhaps the carrier thinks it can stop customers churning for the iPhone with the hope the device will come to 3 soon – at a potentially lower cost. Or perhaps by communicating its own iPhone frustrations 3 can make subscribers more loyal. Alternatively, for a conspiracy theory, perhaps 3 will be launching the device but needed a fresh media angle,” said Burley.

But the analyst adds, “Such developments are surely unprecedented for any other mobile, or for that matter any consumer product. And although the campaign is positioned as giving customers a voice, the exercise is embarrassing for 3 as it is an admission of its subscale and unimportance.”