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apple_iphone_3gMobile operator Orange has announced it will start selling the wildly-popular iPhone later this year.

The agreement with Apple means that present operator O2 no longer has exclusive rights over the smartphone. The exclusive deal had been in place since 2007 when the original iPhone was released.

Orange said that customers will be able to buy the iPhone 3G and 3GS “later this year” but were vague on pricing and exact dates.

More than 25 million handsets have been sold worldwide in 28 countries.

Orange recently announced that it will merge its UK network with T-Mobile, making it a business with 28.4 million subscribers.

O2 will still sell the iPhone alongside the Palm Pre, which its exclusive rights to sell in the UK.