Orange hush-hush on iPhone rumors

Mobile company quiet on possible pact

PARIS — France Telecom’s mobile subsidiary Orange refused to comment Thursday on press speculation that it has pacted with Apple to distribute the iPhone in France.

France Telecom shares rose 1.3% to e20.90 ($28.17) following reports in Wednesday’s Le Figaro, citing website macscoop.com, that the deal was done. However, the share price fell back Thursday to $27.69.

Le Figaro said the iPhone could launch in Europe in September, most likely following the Apple Expo to be held in Paris Sept. 27-29.

iPhone rumors have been rife in Europe since early summer. British mobile operator Vodaphone plus the mobile subsids of Spain’s Telefonica and Germany’s Deutsche Telekom have all been linked to iPhone distrib deals in their home markets.

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