Orange has announced it will start selling the iPhone later this year, sparking hopes the increased competition will drive down prices.

O2, which has exclusively offered the hugely-popular handset since its 2007 launch, will continue to sell the Apple-made handset alongside Orange (see the Cheap iPhones guide).

Specifics about pricing, and the exact date Orange will begin selling both the 3G and recently-launched 3GS iPhones are still unknown (see the Cheap Mobiles guide).

You can pay up to £528 for the 3GS handset at present. consumer products analyst Archna Luthra says: "This will be music to the ears of iPhone fans who have been reluctant to pay the whopping premiums.

"The move should open up competition and push prices downwards. Anyone wanting the iPhone should wait for Orange's pricing announcement in case costs drop."

Orange has recently hit headlines after announcing plans to merge with T-Mobile (see the Orange/T-Mobile merger MSE News story).

If approved, the merger would make it the UK's largest mobile network, with a 37% market share.

Further reading/Key links

Slash mobile costs: Cheap Mobiles
Sell old mobiles: Sell Old Mobiles
iPhone guide: Cheap iPhones