Apple picks up pace on nonexclusive iPhone deals

Orange adds 10+ markets, including four with carriers already assigned

The French mobile carrier Orange today said it has signed agreements with Apple Inc. to sell the iPhone in more than 10 European, Middle Eastern and African countries -- and in the process it extended the move toward inking nonexclusive deals for the device.

Orange, which was tapped by Apple as its exclusive carrier partner in France last year, will also sell the iPhone in Austria, Belgium, the Dominican Republic, Egypt, Jordan, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Switzerland and the company's African markets, it said in a terse statement released today.

As with similar announcements by the likes of Italy's Telecom Italia and U.K.-based Vodafone, Orange was vague on the timetable, saying only that it would begin marketing the iPhone in those countries "later this year."

Several of the nations named by Orange already have an Apple-assigned service provider set to sell the iPhone, including Austria (where T-Mobile started selling the smart phone in March), the Dominican Republic (Mexico-based America Movil has a deal there, too), Egypt (Vodafone) and Portugal (Vodafone).

Apple first departed from its one-carrier-per-country business model last week when Vodafone and Telecom Italia -- Italy's largest telecommunications company -- both said that they had signed deals with the U.S. computer and consumer electronics maker to sell the iPhone in Italy. Until then, Apple had partnered with a single mobile service provider in each market. In the U.S., for example, the only authorized network is AT&T Inc., while in France, Germany and the U.K. it's Orange, T-Mobile and O2, respectively.

Those earlier arrangements have given Apple a portion of the subscriber fees paid by iPhone owners. It's unknown, however, whether the nonexclusive deals include revenue sharing; Apple and the mobile service providers have not disclosed financial terms of their agreements.

In other news, speculation that the release of a next-generation iPhone is imminent has been fueled by out-of-stock messages posted on Apple's U.S. and U.K. online stores, by sales representatives telling customers that the device is sold out "companywide," and by new reports that A&T has restricted purchases to one per customer.

Earlier this week, Apple confirmed that CEO Steve Jobs will kick off the company's Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco on June 9 with a keynote address. Jobs is expected to announce and/or launch a new iPhone capable of connecting to faster 3G data networks during the keynote.

iPhone deals

Market Carrier
Africa (unspecified) Orange
Argentina America Movil
Australia Optus
Austria Orange, T-Mobile
Belgium Orange
Brazil America Movil
Canada Rogers Communications
Chile America Movil
Columbia America Movil
Czech Republic Vodafone
Dominican Republic America Movil, Orange
Ecuador America Movil
Egypt Orange, Vodafone
El Salvador America Movil
France Orange
Germany T-Mobile
Greece Vodafone
Guatemala America Movil
Honduras America Movil
India Bharti Airtel, Vodafone
Italy Telecom Italia, Vodafone
Jamaica America Movil
Jordan Orange
Mexico America Movil
New Zealand Vodafone
Nicaragua America Movil
Paraguay America Movil
Peru America Movil
Philippines Globe Telecom
Poland Orange
Portugal Orange, Vodafone
Puerto Rico America Movil
Romania Orange
Singapore SingTel
Slovakia Orange
South Africa Vodafone
Switzerland Orange
Turkey Vodafone
UK O2
Uruguay America Movil
US AT&T

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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