updated 04:05 pm EDT, Tue August 21, 2007
Euro iPhone Deals Signed
Three regional carriers have just signed exclusive contracts for the iPhone, according to sources speaking with the Financial Times' German paper. The trade publication has reportedly confirmed T-Mobile's own leaks and indicates that T-Mobile has agreed to be the sole provider for the iPhone in Germany; the report also appears to validate earlier claims that Orange and O2 will be responsible for hosting the phone in France and the UK respectively. Terms are purportedly very similar to those signed with AT&T and would have all three carriers share some of their subscription revenues with Apple. This would be a first for Europe as it was for the US, the Times says.
But while the terms are unconventional, the negotiations are said to have been heavily stacked in Apple's favor; every provider is said want an attachment to the Apple name and wants to take advantage of the frequent calling and Internet access associated with the phone. Both the head of T-Mobile's parent company Deutsche Telekom, Hamid Akhavan, and O2 chief Peter Erskine have reportedly been personally involved in petitioning Apple for the exclusive contracts.
"These are not negotiations among equals," claimed one industry connection in the German paper.
O2, Orange, and T-Mobile have declined to comment on the immediate claims but would be ready to announce their deals as early as the IFA technology show in Berlin, which begins August 31st. The current source would contradict a recent report that would have a Vodafone announcement for continent-wide service delivered in a similar timeframe, though no mention has been made to date of who will supply iPhone service for countries outside of the three named in the current report. Vodafone covers most of Europe and could potentially become Apple's choice for a pan-European store.