Orange UK Cuts Deal for iPhones
France Telecom's Orange said
Sept. 8 it will begin selling the Apple iPhone in the U.K.
later this year when Telefonica's O2 exclusive deal with Apple expires. O2 will
continue to sell the iPhone, leaving T-Mobile Germany as the last exclusive
European distributor of the iPhone.
Orange did not announce an actual launch date but said it will sell iPhones in all Orange direct channels, including Orange shops, the Orange Webshop and Orange telesales channels, as well as selected high street partners.
Orange globally now offers iPhones in 28 countries and territories. The company also has the largest 3G network by coverage in the U.K.
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 next year.
AT&T added nearly 7 million subscribers in 2008, many of them seeking the sleek, touch screen iPhone and poached from rival carriers Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile. For the second quarter alone, AT&T added 1.2 million new subscribers. Approximately 1.2 million of the new users signed up for a subsidized iPhone and a two-year contract.