Orange to bring iPhone to UK, a majority of Apple's global presence

French wireless carrier Orange announced this morning that it will become the UK's second network to offer Apple's iPhone later this year, ending O2's two-year exclusivity on the line of smartphones.

O2, a subsidiary of Spanish operator Telefonica, secured a last minute deal with Apple for the iPhone in 2007, beating T-Mobile, Orange, and Vodafone for an exclusive contract.

Globally, Apple lists more than 85 countries and territories in which it sells the iPhone (this morning, the company removed China from the "coming soon" list, but did not add it back by the time of publication), and 50 countries have only one carrier. Fifteen of those iPhone countries are served exclusively by Orange, mostly in Africa, Eastern Europe, and the Caribbean. Of the 35 countries Apple lists as having multiple carriers, nine include Orange among them.

Orange today said it offers the iPhone in "28 countries and territories," (Apple only lists 24). By that measurement, Orange brings the iPhone to more countries than any other mobile operator in the world, with contracts in 32% of Apple's markets.

Telefonica, O2's owner is not too distant second place, with its subsidiaries Movistar, O2, and Vivo covering 19% of the global iPhone markets.

Orange today did not announce pricing or issue a firm date of availability, but has set up a site for interested customers to pre-register.

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