Apple pens Asian iPhone deals

Apple has signed several new distribution deals for the iPhone, bringing the popular handset to markets in Asia and Australia and putting an end to exclusive deals with suppliers.

Apple pens Asian iPhone deals

The latest licenses to sell the iPhone have been granted to SingTel in Singapore, Bharti Airtel in India, Globe Telecom in the Philippines and Optus in Australia.

The announcements are the latest in a series of deals which have seen the company push into a host of new markets. Earlier this month Vodafone announced it would offer the iPhone to customers in Australia, the Czech Republic, Egypt, Greece, Italy, India, Portugal, New Zealand, South Africa and Turkey.

The announcement also suggests that Apple has started to move away from exclusive deals with suppliers in individual countries. Previously only one supplier per country has been granted the right to sell the handsets, but both Vodafone and Optus now have deals in place in Australia.

South Korea could soon be added to this list, as telecommunications regulators today announced that they have relaxed rules on mobile phone design, allowing the sale of Research in Motion’s Blackberry for the first time.

The country currently enforces rules on the design of handsets which give an advantage to companies such as Samsung and LG, both of which are based in South Korea.

The exception to these rules allowing RIM to do business in the country follows two years of appeals by the manufacturer, and could set a precedent for Apple to begin selling its iPhone in the country.

However, despite these new deals, Apple has sold out of iPhones in the UK and US. Speculation is rife that this is due to the imminent arrival of a 3G version of the handset.

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