Apple lines up 7 more iPhone markets

Its latest deal, with TeliaSonera, adds Nordic, Baltic countries to growing list

Swedish telecommunications company TeliaSonera AB Tuesday added its name to the list of mobile carriers set to sell Apple's iPhone this year.

In a brief statement 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 were not disclosed.

Apple confirmed the arrangement.

TeliaSonera, Sweden's largest telecomm 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.

None of the markets tagged by TeliaSonera have been publicly allotted to other carriers, a reversal of a minor trend this month that has seen multiple carriers claim some countries -- including Italy, the Dominican Republic, Egypt and Portugal -- in non-exclusive deals.

Apple first departed from its one-carrier-per-country business model three weeks ago when Vodafone and Telecom Italia -- Italy's largest telecommunications company -- both said that they had signed deals with the US computer and consumer electronics maker to sell the iPhone in Italy. Until then, Apple had partnered with a single mobile service provider in each market. In the US, for example, the only authorized network provider is AT&T.

TeliaSonera's announcement comes less than two weeks before the opening day of Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), where CEO Steve Jobs will take the stage June 9 to deliver the keynote address. Jobs is expected to launch a new iPhone capable of connecting to faster 3G data networks during the keynote.

Also to play a prominent role at WWDC will be iPhone 2.0, the firmware upgrade unveiled in March that will let iPhone users add third-party applications to their devices, and allow enterprises to sync corporate iPhones with Microsoft Exchange e-mail and scheduling servers.

Apple's iPhone will be available in nearly 50 countries by the end of the year, according to Computerworld's count of the deals announced by both Apple and mobile carriers. Currently, the iPhone is available only in the US, the UK, France, Germany and Austria.

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Gregg Keizer

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld
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