Orange, Apple Drop iPhone Exclusive Deal

After a French regulatory agency votes against the exclusive deal between Orange and Apple to distribute the iPhone in France, both companies agree to comply, leaving T-Mobile Germany as the last exclusive European distributor of the iPhone.

Apple and the French cell phone operator Orange formally dropped their exclusive arrangement to distribute the iPhone in France Nov. 3. The decision comes months after the French competition authority ruled against the exclusive distribution deal.
The French regulatory agency ruled that the Apple-Orange exclusive distribution deal "could introduce a new factor of rigidity into a sector that is already suffering from a lack of competition." In February, a Paris appeals court upheld the decision.
The announcement marks yet another country where the exclusive distribution deal for the iPhone has ended. Orange said Sept. 8 it will begin selling the iPhone in the United Kingdom later in 2009 when Telefonica's O2's exclusive deal with Apple expires. O2 will continue to selling the iPhone, leaving T-Mobile Germany as the last exclusive European distributor of the iPhone.
Orange globally now offers iPhones in 28 countries and territories. The company also has the largest 3G network by coverage in the United Kingdom.
In the United States, where AT&T is the exclusive distributor of iPhones, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson admitted July 23 that the company's partnership with Apple as the exclusive provider of the iPhone will inevitably end and network quality will ultimately be the differentiator between carriers offering the wildly popular iPhone. AT&T's deal with Apple-originally signed in 2007-is rumored to end in 2010.