Operators Vying for iPhone Exclusive in Europe

As you likely know by now, AT&T (Cingular) beat out other operators to become the exclusive provider of iPhone in the U.S., for the next five years. The carrier was actually Apple’s second choice after Verizon Wireless, which declined the iPhone due to the Apple’s demands for too much control.

While it appeared Apple wouldn’t choose to go the exclusive-carrier route with the iPhone in Europe, because it is a far more fragmented market than the U.S., the opposite may be true. And if that’s so, the competition appears to be heating up, with T-Mobile Europe (a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom ) in the lead, according to a recent report by InformationWeek.

Just behind T-Mobile in the European iPhone sweepstakes is carrier-giant Vodafone (operators Orange and O2 have apparently fallen by the wayside), which also happens to the largest mobile-operator on the continent. InformationWeek says this last detail is giving some analysts pause.

While T-Mobile is the third biggest carrier worldwide, it only ranks sixth in Europe. So why would Apple go with number six rather than number one or any of the four operators in-between? As InformationWeek puts it, it’d be like Apple having chose U.S. Cellular instead of AT&T.

It doesn’t make much sense, especially if it is true that a deal would involve some kind of exclusivity, as with Apple’s AT&T agreement in the U.S.

It’ll be interesting to see how this turns out. Perhaps Apple will in the end rethink going with the exclusive-distribution model it so far has exploited successfully—in terms of publicity and focus here (without shipping a single iPhone) in the European market. We’ll keep you posted.

Story courtesy of SmartPhoneToday.

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