France Telecom's Orange will start selling the popular Apple iPhone in Britain later this year, it said on Monday, when the exclusive contract held by Telefonica's O2 will expire.

Orange, which has the largest 3G network covering more people in the UK than any other operator, will sell iPhone in all Orange direct channels including Orange shops, the Orange webshop and Orange telesales channels, as well as selected high street partners, it said.

O2, which will continue to sell the phone in Britain, has benefited from signing the first contract and currently has over 1 million subscribers to the smartphone.

Analysts have also said users of the iPhone tend to use more data services from surfing the Internet.