3G iPhone “no longer exclusive”

The 3G iPhone may be released to all service providers, rather than under an exclusive deal with just one, according to early reports.

The long-awaited 3G handset may be released under a non-exclusive deal in Italy, with Apple no longer enforcing profit-sharing schemes, claims the Italian newspaper, La Republica.

Until now the iPhone has been sold in all countries via one chosen operator, and a percentage of monthly tariff charges taken by Apple.

Despite this, many carriers competed to land the contract to sell the handsets in Europe, anticipating strong sales which analysts say never arrived.

However, there have been no reports suggesting the move includes countries other than Italy.

There have been previous exceptions to the exclusive deals put in place by Apple. T-Mobile was temporarily ordered by a court to sell unlocked iPhones in Germany, although the company charged £720 for each handset, and the order was later overturned.

Apple was unavailable for comment at the time of writing.

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