The chief executive of the O2 mobile network has said he expects the iPhone to help the company maintain its growth.

His comments add to speculation that the network may have secured distribution rights to Apple's iPhone in the UK.

However, O2 refused to confirm it has secured the rights to sell the phone in the UK, The Independent reports.

Company chief executive Peter Erskine simply said: "We're excited about this product and we certainly hope to be marketing it later in the year when it launches."

O2's sales grew 10 per cent in its last quarter. It is now the largest mobile phone operator in the UK.