After a month that included the head of France Telecom (NYSE: FTE) telling journalists informally that mobile operator Orange would sell the iPhone in France, and then subsequent reports that the deal might not go ahead, or be delayed, over the issue of revenue shares, Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) and Orange have finally, officially announced an exclusive distribution partnership for the iPhone in France. The phone will come out on November 29, almost a month after its launch in the UK and Germany, the other two European markets where deals have been announced. As in Germany, the phone will retail for 399 euros including VAT ($565) and will be sold through Orange’s online and retail outlets.
No details in the official announcement about the financial terms of the deal. But Challenges, the French business paper that had originally broken the story about disagreements between Apple and Orange over revenue splits—and the subsequent delay in announcing the partnership—reports that Apple will be getting a 30 percent cut on services revenue. There is still the remaining issue of how iPhones not tied to any contract will be priced: French law demands that all handsets have an option to be sold in this way. Challenges reports that it will likely be sold at a very high price as a deterrent, suggesting a price point of 999 euros ($1,400).
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