Mobile phone company 02 is reportedly on the verge of signing an exclusive deal with Apple to distribute its new iPhone in the UK.
The Financial Times newspaper, citing undisclosed sources familiar with the matter, said that 02 was set to become the first European mobile operator to be named as an exclusive network partner to Apple over the sale of the new product.
Other press reports claim that an exclusive contract is set to be signed by the two companies shortly.
However 02, owned by the Spanish telecoms group Telefonica, has declined to comment on the reports.
It will be good news for the company if it has been chosen by Apple to be its UK distribution partner for the iPhone.
An estimated 500,000 iPhones were sold last week following its launch in the US, where AT&T has exclusive rights to sell the new product a combination of Apple's popular iPod music player and a mobile phone.
However such an agreement would come as a blow to rival Vodafone, which has been previously tipped by analysts to secure the exclusive iPhone contract.
The long-awaited product is due to come on the market in the UK this autumn.