T-Mobile looks set to win Euro distribution rights for the iPhone

iPhoneT-Mobile has emerged as the frontrunner in the race to secure the exclusive European distribution rights for Apple’s much-anticipated iPhone. The hotly contested contract will be worth millions of pounds to the winning operator.

Europe’s biggest mobile phone networks, including Vodafone, Orange and O2 owner Telefonica, have been competing for the right to sell the combined music player, mobile phone, e-mail and internet device when it is launched in Europe this autumn. Apple has already signed an exclusive deal with AT&T to distribute the iPhone in the US.

It is thought that the company has narrowed the European shortlist to Vodafone and T-Mobile but sources say the Deutsche Telekom-owned brand is the favourite to land the deal.

T-Mobile has been particularly active in the music area and Gartner research director Martin Gutberlet doubts whether the iPhone, with its iTunes software, would fit with Vodafone’s Live! portal.

But he thinks that Apple is adopting the wrong strategy by looking to sign an exclusive deal with one operator. “It would be in Apple’s best interests to get more than one operator to distribute the phone because the European market is more fragmented than the US,” he says.

Gutberlet believes Apple will sign an exclusive deal with one company but realise its mistake and look for other distributors at a later date. He also points out that T-Mobile has little or no presence in Italy, Spain or France.

Europe’s biggest mobile phone retailer Carphone Warehouse was also believed to be in talks with Apple but 3 was ruled out because the iPhone is not yet 3G-compatible. The exclusion was a blow for Hutchison Whampoa-owned 3, which is also one of the stronger networks in music.

Latest from Marketing Week

NOT REGISTERED? IT'S FREE, QUICK AND EASY!

Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now

THE BEST CONTENT

Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.

THE BIGGEST ISSUES

From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.

PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3711 or email subscriptions@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here