In a blow to Vodafone, Apple has chosen O2, Orange and T-Mobile as its European iPhone launch partners according to the Financial Times.
The latest in a series of often-conflicting reports explains all the mobile networks have agreed to share 10 per cent of all revenue from voice and data services using an iPhone with Apple. The contract was signed "in recent days", the report explains.
As predicted, the report confirms Apple has adopted a more diverse bring-to-market strategy for the product's launch in the European market, with Orange securing distribution in France, T-Mobile grabbing Germany and O2 securing UK distribution rights.
Macworld has received multiple reports from UK readers who have been in contact with O2 sales teams in recent days. It appears O2 representatives are promising callers that the iPhone will be made available through their network by "the end of the month".
This lends weight to the Financial Times in its claim that Apple and its European mobile network partners will announce their partnerships by the end of the month.
Negotiations between mobile networks in their scramble for the device appear to have reached the very highest echelons of the boardroom: Deutsche Telekom chairman Hamid Akhavan and O2 chief executive Peter Erskine reportedly "campaigned for personal talks with Apple CEO Steve Jobs about the contract".
The companies are predicted to make the announcement at the IFA show in Berlin, which runs from Aug 31 to Sep 5, reports the FT. However Apple has never previously exhibited at IFA, is not listed as an exhibitor at the show, and has not confirmed that it will attend this year.