European iPhone deal nearing completion: O2, Orange, T-Mobile sign revenue-sharing deal with Apple, sources claim

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When you see the headline “Apple secures Europe iPhone revenue deals” in a respected paper like the Financial Times, you take notice, because it reads as if a deal has been done with Apple and at least one mobile network to distribute the iPhone in Europe.

“Apple has succeeded in committing European mobile phone operators that want exclusively to sell its new iPhone to share parts of their revenues with the technology group,” the article begins.

“The contract, which was signed by three European mobile operators in recent days, requires that the operators hand over to Apple 10 per cent of the revenues made from calls and data transfers by customers over iPhones.”

“The contract was signed by T-Mobile of Germany, Orange of France and O2 in the UK, people familiar with the situation told FT Deutschland, the Financial Times’s sister paper.”

There’s the crunch. “People familiar with the situation”. In other words, “unnamed sources”. In other words… rumour.

The deal may well have been struck, and we’ve already reported on the rumoured deals with Orange in France, O2 in the UK, and T-Mobile in Germany, but it’s not certain. Only two days ago we were reporting that Vodafone were close to a deal with Apple.

According to the FT, the three mobile operators named here are due to make an official announcement at the end of August at the IFA trade fair, though I would have thought Apple would want to make the first official announcement. Unsurprisingly, they’re all silent on the matter at present, leaving us to speculate.

An “industry expert”, speaking about the rumoured deal, told FT Deutschland that “These are not negotiations among equals. Apple clearly had the upper hand.”

We may finally get the answer to this riddle in about a week’s time.

iPhonicvVia FT.com (subscription)

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Andy Merrett