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Apple's iPhone abroad: Orange UK to sell; China debut in October

When O2's exclusive contract for the iPhone expires this year, Orange will also offer the handset in the U.K.; and China Unicom will offer Apple's iPhone for $732.50 on October 1.

Orange UK to sell iPhone

Under a new agreement, both the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS will be available to Orange U.K. customers by the end of 2009. Price and availability have not yet been announced.

"Orange, which has the largest 3G network covering more people in the UK than any other operator, will sell iPhone in all Orange direct channels including Orange shops, the Orange webshop and Orange telesales channels, as well as selected high street partners," the company said. "A pre-registration site for customers to log their interest has been launched at www.Orange.co.uk/iPhone."

Orange, owned by France Telecom, said it now offers the handset in 28 countries and territories. Orange already offers the iPhone in the company's home country of France. The exclusive deal with Telefonica's O2 is set to expire later this year.

Earlier this year, reports suggested the British T-Mobile was also negotiating to sell the iPhone. A proposed merger between T-Mobile and Orange was put on the table earlier this month.

iPhone to hit China October 1

Official details on the impending launch of the iPhone in China are beginning to surface, as Reuters has revealed that the handset will launch October 1 for a price of 5,000 yuan, or $732.50. Which model and capacity of the phone that price would receive was not said.

"The high price tag may force buyers of the popular handsets to sign up for subsidised packages carrying lower handset prices but also longer-term contract commitments, as competition heats up in China's recently reformed telecoms sector," the report said.

The company plans to launch its 3G network the same day that the iPhone is available. China Unicom will offer eight plans ranging from 126 yuan to 886 yuan per month, and subsidies will be available for those who sign up for a contract.

In August, Apple and China Unicom reached a three-year deal to sell the iPhone. The new hardware model approved by China's State Radio Regulatory Commission excludes Wi-Fi.

Unlike other agreements worldwide, the deal between Apple and China Unicom is not an exclusive one. Reports have suggested that the handset maker has now turned its attention to China Mobile, the world's largest wireless carrier, for a possible deal.