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Palm's Pre deals won by O2 and Movistar

TELEFONICA'S O2 and Movistar have won exclusive deals to sell Palm's new Pre smartphone - regarded as the closest rival to Apple's iPhone - in Britain, Ireland, Germany and Spain.

Palm said yesterday that O2 would have initial exclusivity in the UK, Ireland and Germany, while Movistar would have an exclusive deal in Spain. It did not specify when other operators might be allowed to sell the Pre.

O2 already has exclusive British and Irish rights to the iPhone including the new 3GS version, giving it an edge over rivals Vodafone, Orange, T-Mobile and 3.

Movistar is also the current exclusive seller of the iPhone in Spain, meaning Germany - where T-Mobile sells the iPhone - will be the only European country where the iPhone and Palm are sold by different operators.

"A coup for O2, grabbing another super exclusive ahead of rivals," research firm CCS Insight said in an alert.

Palm said the Pre would be available in the specified European countries in time for Christmas but didn't name a price.

The company also said the Pre would debut in Canada with Bell Mobility in the second half of the year.

The Pre went on sale in the United States last month, initially with operator Sprint, and Palm said it had broken Sprint's previous first-weekend sales records.

Palm hopes the Pre, which also competes head-to-head with Research in Motion's BlackBerry, will lead the company out of persistent losses.



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