Apple to Break O2 iPhone Exclusivity in the UK, But Not for the 3GS?

Mobile reports that Apple will begin offering the iPhone 3G to wireless carriers Orange and T-Mobile in the UK later this year, while retaining exclusivity for the new iPhone 3GS for longtime partner O2.

The move is set for as early as September and will end Apple's two year exclusive deal with O2.

Crucially, the manufacturer will continue to give O2 exclusivity for the new, faster 3GS version, but will grant distribution of the older 3G handset to another network.

Orange and T-Mobile are known to have already begun pitching for the handset. T-Mobile's call centres have also started telling customers it may stock the iPhone.

O2 is reportedly "furious" about the move and fears that new entrants to the iPhone market will undercut its prices for the older iPhone 3G.

T-Mobile and Orange both have existing relationships with Apple, as they offer the iPhone in a number of other countries.