• The iPhone Goes Orange

    Image via independent.co.uk

    Word is out Monday morning that France Telecom's Orange will begin marketing Apple's iPhone throughout Great Britain before the end of the year. The roll out will follow the expiration of the exclusive contract held by Telefonica's O2.

    From this morning's Wall Street Journal:

    Although an exact date for the launch wasn't released, an Orange spokesman said the iPhone would be available on its network by Christmas. It will sell both the original iPhone 3G model and the latest iPhone 3GS version, which was launched in June with faster connectivity and added features. No details of Orange's pricing or tariffs were released.
    As we wake up to the news from Orange today, we can finally put to rest all the rumors and speculations that had many believing for months that Orange was trying to forcefully interject itself or "weasel its way into" the exclusive agreement that 02 has had with Apple regarding the iPhone since 2007.

    Luckily for Orange, they now have 02's foundation of growth to build upon. For now, Orange will only say that it plans to sell the iPhone in all Orange direct channels including Orange shops, the Orange webshop and Orange telesales channels.

    O2's exclusive contract with Apple has helped the company boost sales and extend its lead as the largest U.K. mobile network despite the recession.
    Putting yet another rumor to rest, the announcement from Orange also tells us that Vodafone Group PLC, the second biggest operator in the U.K., won't be a factor in the iPhone's immediate future. Over the last few months, some on the chain of command at Vodafone had hinted at the company's interest in selling the iPhone, as the WSJ article indicates.

    Only a few weeks ago, Orange also announced plans to merge its network with T-Mobile. The goal? To ultimately surpass 02 as the market leader in the UK.

    For now, O2 will continue to sell the iPhone across the pond, in addition to the eagerly anticipated iPhone competitor the Palm Pre.
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