International iPhone rumors: Germany, France and the UK

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Over the last 48 hours, several overseas publications have weighed in with claims regarding when and with which carrier Apple Inc. plans to launch its well-received iPhone device in European markets.

iPhone in Germany

The rumors began with a report in the Rheinische Post, which stated that Deutsche Telekom's mobile phone unit T-Mobile had clinched a deal to bring the Apple handset to Germany.

Without citing sources, the German daily said in a preview of a story to be published on Wednesday that T-Mobile is expected to sell the iPhone exclusively with a T-Mobile contract for around 450 euros ($612) starting Nov 1.

iPhone in the UK

Hours later, UK-based Times Online ran a story regarding its own region, in which it said O2 has beaten out rivals to win the exclusive UK rights to offer iPhone.

"The tie-up, the mobile phone industry’s most sought-after deal in years, marks a major coup for the 18 million-customer group," the paper said. "The final contract is expected to be signed imminently."

The UK's version of iPhone will reportedly arrive by Christmas, and is expected to prove a key weapon in enabling O2 to win and retain customers in one of Europe’s fiercest mobile markets.

The deal with O2, however, is said to come as a bitter disappointment to Vodafone, which had been tipped as the front-runner for the deal.

"Arun Sarin, Vodafone’s chief executive, had been pushing hard to secure a deal for the iPhone, which has been at the centre of one of the most fiercely contested mobile battles since the £22.5 billion auction of 3G rights," the Times said. "However, as negotiations reached a climax, he is thought to have decided that the commercial terms on offer were not viable."

iPhone in France

A third and final report published by Financial Times Deutschland appears to corroborate reports of a fall iPhone launch in Germany and the UK, adding that the device will also launch in France around the same time.

However, iPhone's European availability will be limited to just these three continues in 2007 and will not include a 3G version, the report adds.