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O2 gets UK iPhone deal

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Mobile network O2 is close to getting the exclusive right to sell Apple's ludicrously-hyped iPhone in the UK. The handset has gone on sale in the US with one network partner, AT&T, and Apple is looking to set up similar exclusive deals across Europe.

Citing people "familiar with the matter", the Financial Times reports that O2 is poised to win the deal. Apple talked to T-Mobile, Orange, and Vodafone before settling on O2. O2 told the paper it had not signed a contract, and Apple refused to comment.

Speculation had put Vodafone in the frame for the UK contract.

The phone will work on 2.5 rather than 3G networks. It will launch in the UK, France, and Germany this year.

It is believed the deal includes a share of ongoing customer revenue for Apple.

No sales figures have been released for the US launch, but analysts suggest as many as 500,000 handsets may have been sold.

There's more from the FT here. ®

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