Opera Software said its Internet browser for Apple's iPhone was downloaded more than 2.6 million times last month after the Norwegian firm got access to iPhone as the first rival browser firm.

On April 13 Apple accepted distribution of Opera's browser for its iPhone after a long review, opening a new and potentially lucrative market it has so far closely guarded.

A very significant part of iPhone users has at least tried it, Opera co-founder Jon von Tetzchner told Reuters in an interview. We are also seeing very nice usage.

Opera's browser promises up to six times faster download speeds than Apple's own browser, and to cut data traffic by up to 90 percent. Massive data traffic from iPhones has caused problems for many operators' networks.

(Reporting by Tarmo Virki; Editing by Hans Peters)