Evidence is mounting that the European distributors of the world’s greatest gadget, the Apple iPhone, will be officially announced next week.
Apple has called a news conference at the Apple Store, Regent Street, London on Tuesday, September 18 at 10am. While the invitation states “Mum is no longer the word”, Apple will not be drawn into revealing what will be announced, although an Apple spokesperson in Germany did tell Reuters that the European distributors of the iPhone would be announced by the end of this month.
Speculation is rife that Apple will announce the European iPhone distributors at the press conference, which are expected to be O2 in the UK, T-mobile in Germany and Orange in France.
It is believed that in a telecommunications industry first, Apple will receive a share of voice revenues, in addition to data revenues, for each iPhone sold. Apple has already struck a similar deal with its American iPhone distributor AT&T.
While this unconventional business model has been criticized by many in the telecommunications industry (the telcos don’t want to set a precedent), the chief executive of O2, Peter Erskine, has leapt to its defense, describing the new business model as important in the future of “converged communications”.
“If sharing revenue brings a bigger pie to the table, then we’ll be happy to share that pie,” Erskine told The Times.
Erskine also told The Times that the iPhone is a “iconic device” that has appealed to “to large numbers of customers in the US”.
Analysts are interpreting Erskine’s enthusiasm for an iPhone as confirmation that O2 will be the UK iPhone distributor.