Apple seems set to work with multiple mobile network operators as it brings its iPhone to Europe, with O2 reportedly "poised" to clinch the rights to distribute the device in the UK.

Reports claim O2, (a division of Spain's Telefonica) seems set to secure the iPhone deal as exclusive Apple network partner for the UK.

The Times claims the mobile network will be the first European network to conclude an iPhone deal with Apple, while The Times warns the deal is set for "imminent" completion.

O2 this morning moved to dismiss the claims, saying: "No deal has been signed by O2 with Apple. We do not comment on rumour and speculation." Apple also maintains a policy of non-comment on rumour.

The Times also reports that it believes negotiations are continuing with mobile phone retailers including Carphone Warehouse over a deal to sell iPhones in that retailers stores after "a period of exclusivity" with O2.

Apple will take a share of iPhone revenies and O2's network will need to be re-configured to support the device.

Until now, rights to distribute iPhone in Europe were thought likely to go to one or more of Vodafone, Deutsche Telecom/T-Mobile or Orange.

Reports this week indicated that Deutsche Telecom/T-Mobile had secured the rights, at least for Germany.

Vodafone is understood to have battled hard for the rights to distribute iPhone in the territories it operates in, but senior management at that company later decided Apple's terms weren't attractive enough.

The device should be on sale later this year. The Financial Times warns the device will initially ship in the UK, Germany and France only, with iPhone launches in other European countries and Asia next year.