T-Mobile searches for iPhones abroad to sell in UK

LONDON - Mobile phone operator T-Mobile is searching for contract-free iPhones across Europe to sell to UK customers in an effort to stop them defecting to O2, according to reports.

According to the Sunday Telegraph, T-Mobile is able to sell the iPhones in the UK because Apple's exclusive contract with O2 does not prevent other companies importing SIM-free iPhones from abroad.

T-Mobile, the fourth-largest mobile network in the UK, behind O2, Vodafone and Orange, is the exclusive distributor of the iPhone in Germany.

The company declined to comment on the report this morning.

The news follows reports last week that T-Mobile was in talks with Apple in an effort to secure a UK distribution agreement for the older generation of the handset, the iPhone 3G.

O2, which has been the sole distributor of the iPhone in the UK since 2007, would still keep exclusivity of the iPhone 3GS, the newer, faster model released by Apple in June.

T-Mobile called the report "merely speculation".

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