Apple is looking to sell the iPhone in a big way by entering into deals with telecommunications companies throughout the world. After initiating the biggest international rollout ever with its tie-ups in India with Vodafone and Airtel, the software and consumer electronics major has signed deals to introduce its iconic product in Nordic and Baltic states. (See: After Vodafone, Apple ropes in Airtel to launch iPhones in India and iPhone to be marketed in India ... legally)
Swedish telecommunications company TeliaSonera AB recently added its name to the list of mobile carriers set to sell the iPhone this year. In a brief statement issued on Tuesday, TeliaSonera said it had inked a deal with Apple to sell the iPhone in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia "later this year." Financial terms of the distributioon arrangement have not been disclosed.
Apple confirmed the arrangement.
TeliaSonera, Sweden's largest telecommunications firm, boasts more than 100 million mobile subscribers, primarily in its home country and neighboring Norway and Finland; it also operates in Denmark, the three Baltic countries, and Spain.
In the Netherlands, Royal KPN NV said it is talking with Apple about obtaining rights to market iPhones to its Dutch subscribers. Also, Apple is also reportedly trying to enter the highly competitive Japanese market with the iPhone, albeit a higher-end 3G version.
For consumers interested in surfing the Internet, the current iPhones have been something of a disappointment because they haven't been able to take advantage of the faster 3G networks. That is expected to change during the week of 9 June when Apple announces its new iPhone models, including at least one 3G version, at its worldwide developers conference in San Francisco.
An iPhone with high-speed 3G capabilities is almost mandatory if Apple hopes to crack the tough market in Japan, where many consumers already are accustomed to surfing the Internet at 3G speeds; Japanese mobile phone subscribers make up the majority of the world's mobile Internet users.
According to media reports from Japan, Apple has been in talks with NTT DoCoMo and Softbank about marketing iPhones.
In recent times Apple has also diverted from its earlier policy of tying up with only one wireless operator in one country, as in the example of AT&T in the US.
Apple first departed from its one-carrier-per-country business model three weeks ago when Vodafone Group PLC and Telecom Italia - Italy's largest telecommunications company - both said that they had signed deals to sell the iPhone in Italy.
This was soon followed by news of Apple's tie-up with Airtel, almost a month after its deal with Vodafone India became public. Other new entrants to the iPhone club include America Movil in Latin America and Singapore's SingTel in Asia and Australia.