Orange to sell iPhone in Mideast, Europe
Paris, May 17, 2008
French wireless operator Orange has signed a deal with Apple to sell its iPhone in the Middle East, Africa and several European countries.
France Telecom's Orange said it will sell the handset in Austria, Belgium, the Dominican Republic, Egypt, Jordan, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Switzerland and African markets later this year.
France Telecom spokesman Bertrand Deronchaine said Orange will be the exclusive iPhone provider in Belgium and Romania, with co-exclusive or non-exclusive deals in other countries.
Apple has so far struck exclusive deals for the iPhone with AT&T in the US, O2 in Britain, T-Mobile in Germany and Orange in France.
Apple plans further expansion later this year through the partnership with Mexico City-based America Movil SAB. The top mobile phone operator in Latin America said earlier this month it plans to bring the iPhone to all of its Latin American operations.
Apple has also signed deals with Rogers Communications to sell the device in Canada; Milan-based Telecom Italia to sell the iPhone in Italy; and Vodafone Group to sell it in a total of 10 countries, including Australia, India, Italy and Turkey.
Since the combination iPod-cell phone-Internet device went on sale in June in the US, Apple has sold 5.4 million worldwide, based on data as of March end.
The announcements will help Cupertino-based Apple meet its goal to sell 10m iPhones by the end of this year.
Many consumers in countries where Apple has not struck iPhone deals with mobile operators are using them already.
They're using 'unlocked' iPhones that have been modified to work over any cellular network, a sign of the growing worldwide demand for the phones that has also irked Apple, which has disabled some unlocked phones through software updates.