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Broadband provider Orange, which has inked an exclusive deal to distribute the iPhone in France, may not be able to launch the device in time for Christmas, it has been reported.

The hitch in the deal stems from a law which is designed to safeguard consumers' interests, according to a report in French newspaper Les Echos.

Under the terms of the law "the iPhone would have to be sold both with and without contracts, undermining its exclusivity for Orange and Apple's demand of up to 30 per cent of voice and data revenues," the report says.

It has also been speculated that the two firms are disputing contractual terms.

Curiosity was initially roused over the date and terms of the French iPhone launch some weeks ago when exclusivity deals were announced with O2 for the UK and T-Mobile in Germany. There was, however, no official confirmation of that Orange's status as exclusive dealer in France.

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