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Optus as Australia's iPhone carrier?

Optus may lead Australia's iPhone race if parent company SingTel secures exclusive iPhone distribution rights in Singapore.

Optus may lead Australia's iPhone race if parent company Singtel secures exclusive iPhone distribution rights in Singapore.

According to a Channel NewsAsia report online, SingTel may have won the rights to distributing Apple's iPhone in Singapore, and could launch it officially in September. The report quotes sources as saying SingTel has "more or less sealed the deal".

This reignites speculation that a single deal may be pursued by SingTel to bring the iPhone to Asia Pacific countries, including Australia via Optus. Telstra had seemed the forerunner for the iPhone as the operator of Australia's only EDGE mobile network, with suggestions Telstra could release the iPhone as early as April.

While the iPhone has won praise for its Safari Web browser and overall Web experience, in its current configuration the iPhone accesses data using EDGE network technology (2.5G), which is significantly slower than 3G or HSDPA data speeds.

If Optus was to secure the rights to a "2.5G" iPhone, then the lack of EDGE network access would restrict users of the iPhone in Australia to the even slower GPRS network speeds. However, a September release date may indicate a similar release schedule for a 3G iPhone model.

Optus has declined to comment at this time.

Another week, another iPhone rumour. Jump on the forums and tell us what you think of Optus as Australia's iPhone carrier, or update us on the latest iPhone rumours you've heard.