Rival network operators Orange and T-Mobile expected to snap up the in-vogue handset

iPhone O2 monopoly ends October 9th

Although there has been plentiful speculation about O2 losing its iPhone exclusivity over the last few weeks, PCR’s sister title Mobile Entertainment has seen documentation that states it will end officially on October 9th.

O2 signed its original deal with Apple in late 2007, and is believed to have the rights to sell the iPhone to 2012.

However, the exclusive arrangement lasts only for two years – although sources say that O2 may retain sole rights to the recently launched the iPhone 3G 2.

Orange and T-Mobile have been linked heavily with iPhone over the summer, and both networks already sell the device in other territories.

Orange was the first network to sell the iPhone around Europe, while T-Mobile stocks the device exclusively in Germany.

Indeed, a report by The Register on Monday stated that T-Mobile UK had already begun shipping iPhones discreetly to big-spending customers.

A spokesperson for O2 would not be drawn on the October 9th date. He said (vaguely): "All I can say is that O2 has a multi-year exclusive on iPhone – and that this remains in place."

A broadening of distribution for iPhone in the UK would not be too dramatic. The device is sold in round 80 countries and is currently exclusive only in the US, UK and Germany.

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