French newspaper Le Figaro reports [Google translation] (via 9 to 5 Mac) on the success of the iPhone in France, where observers have previously looked to as an example for the market share growth possible in transitioning from exclusive carrier arrangements to multi-carrier models.

According to the report, Apple is expected to sell between 1.8 million and 2 million iPhones in France for 2009, representing approximately 8.5% of the total mobile market by unit sales and approximately 20% of the market value. Those numbers can be contrasted with the U.S., where a previous study looking at only the first half of 2009 estimated Apple's share of unit revenue at only 8% and where the company holds only under a 2% unit market share.

As noted in today's report, Apple's sales in France are also expected to account for over half of the total smartphone sales there of approximately 3.5 million for the year.

Orange was the exclusive iPhone carrier in France from the device's launch there in November 2007 until December 2008, when a court nixed the exclusivity arrangement.

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