Apple ends iPhone exclusivity in UK

UK mobile operator Orange is to sell Apple’s iPhone in the UK, ending the exclusive deal with O2 and leaving only the US and Germany not offering a choice of telco to iPhone users.

The deal between O2 and Apple had been in place since 2007.

Orange has not specified dates or pricing details, merely saying that customers will be able to buy the trendy phone ‘later this year’.

In a brief statement, the company said: “Orange UK and Apple have reached an agreement to bring iPhone 3G and 3GS to Orange UK customers later this year.Orange, which has the largest 3G network covering more people in the UK than any other operator, will sell iPhone in all Orange direct channels including Orange shops, the Orange webshop and Orange telesales channels, as well as selected high street partners.” 

Orange has set up a website where prospective customers can register.

Orange plans to merge its UK network with Deutsche Telekom’s T-Mobile to create the UK’s largest mobile provider, overtaking Telefonica’s O2 and owning some 37 percent of the market.

O2 says it will continue to sell the Apple gadget alongside rival smartphone, the Palm Pre, which will still only be available through O2 when it launches in the middle of October.