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Tuesday, August 21, 2007, 12:25 pm PT (03:25 pm ET)

Apple signs iPhone providers for UK, France & Germany - report

Apple Inc. has reached an agreement with three separate European wireless carriers to act as exclusive iPhone partners in the UK, France and Germany, the Financial Times is reporting.

Citing people familiar with the matter, the financial paper said T-Mobile of Germany, Orange of France and O2 in the UK, have each in recent days signed agreements that afford them exclusive rights to market the Apple handset to customers within those respective nations.

In return, the Cupertino-based electronics maker has reportedly succeeded in committing the phone operators to fork over 10 percent of the revenues made from calls and data transfers by customers using iPhones.

"The deal gives manufacturers of handsets for the first time a direct share of the revenues a mobile phone operator makes from calls and data transfers, marking a shift in the relationship between the parties," the Financial Times reported.

Thus far, mobile operators have campaigned fiercely against such an approach. However, experts told the Times that Apple’s success in securing the deals could spur other handset manufacturers to try to secure similar terms.

All three of the European wireless carriers are said to be hoping for a significant boost in their image from the exclusive deal with Apple, as well as a pool of attractive customers with high rates of spending on calls and data transfers.

Among the tactics used by Apple to lured the mobile operators, according to the Times, was the prospect of a financially risk-free business — as it will not allow for common subsidies on the sale of handsets.

The operators will reportedly announce the partnerships at the IFA consumer electronics fair in Berlin, which runs August 31st through September 5th.