LONDON: The announcement that Apple Computer has finally chosen a telco partner for the UK launch of its much-hyped iPhone is just the beginning of a concerted campaign to persuade European consumers to part with (quite a lot of) their cash for the device.

Some industry analysts believe the multimedia cellphone - to be brought to market exclusively with mobile network 02 - will find it more difficult to establish a bridgehead in the UK when it debuts in November prior to other parts of Europe.

The 'must have' device, with its touch screen technology which plays music and gives online access, faces stiff competition from other multimedia handsets produced by Nokia and Sony Ericsson, both of which are major European presences.

Continental consumers may also baulk at the price, which is set at €385 ($538; £269) and is substantially more than the revised $399 US buyers now pay.

Another hurdle for the iPhone in Europe is its incompatibility with highspeed 3G networks for web browsing. Instead, it will run on the slower Edge network.

Nonetheless, a gung-ho Steve Jobs, Apple's ceo, is confident the device will prove as popular in Europe as in its home market.

"US iPhone customer satisfaction is off the charts," he hypes. "We can't wait to let UK customers get their hands on it and learn what they think of it."

O2's UK ceo, Matthew Key, also sings the iPhone's praises, adding that internal research claims 40% of customers with rival operators said they would switch carriers to get their hands on the device.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff