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Orange says iPhone talks underway but no deal signed - report

Retuers reports that a leading executive at France Telecom has told members of the media that several wireless operators are in talks with Apple Inc. over marketing Apple's iPhone in Europe, but added no deal has been signed.

"There are several of us in talks with Apple to market the iPhone," Louis-Pierre Wenes, a senior executive at France Telecom, told Paris Match magazine in an article published on Thursday.

Earlier this week, Financial Times Deutschland reported that Deutsche Telekom AG's mobile phone unit, T-Mobile, had agreed to an iPhone deal in which it would share with Apple 10 percent of the revenue it makes from calls and data transfers by customers over iPhones.

The earlier report added that France Telecom's Orange unit and the O2 unit of Spain's Telefonica had also agreed to the same terms for deals in their countries.

Asked whether he could confirm that Orange had got a deal with iPhone, Wenes replied: "No. Several operators are still in talks with Apple. I think it will be several weeks before we have an announcement. A deal in September, as has been reported, seems impossible to me, if only for technical reasons."

"Once the phone is activated, it allows you to access the operator's network and that takes several months to get up and running," he added. "The marketing ought to take place in the fourth quarter of 2007, as indicated previously by Apple."

Officials at France Telecom were reportedly unavailable for comment.