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Apple signs non-exclusive iPhone distribution deals

Australia and India to have multiple operators

Apple's iPhone will be available from more than one mobile operator in Australia and India later this year, offering further indications that Apple is breaking with its history of exclusive iPhone distribution agreements with operators in other markets.

Today, SingTel announced it had struck a deal with Apple to distribute the iPhone in Singapore, India, Australia and the Philippines.

The announcement follows Vodafone's agreement with Apple, announced last week, to sell the iPhone in 10 countries including Australia, India and Italy. On the same day, Telecom Italia announced that it too would distribute the iPhone in Italy, the first sign that Apple was moving away from only signing exclusive deals.

The Vodafone deal excluded its networks in the UK and Germany, where Apple has already signed exclusive distribution deals with rival operators O2 and T-Mobile. But with two operators on board to sell the iPhone in Italy, and now India and Australia, Apple appears to be taking a different approach as it widens the availability of the iPhone.

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The deal between SingTel and Apple involves several different operators. SingTel Mobile will distribute the iPhone in Singapore, while the handset will be sold by Optus in Australia. Bharti Airtel and Globe Telecom will handle sales in India and the Philippines, respectively.

Optus is a SingTel subsidiary, while Bharti Airtel and Globe Telecom are affiliated companies that count SingTel as an investor.

SingTel offered little insight into when it would begin sales of the iPhone, just saying that the handset would be available "later this year".


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