In the most positive statement from O2 yet, Peter Erksine, the chief exec of O2 has said about the iPhone:

"We're excited about this product and we certainly hope to be marketing it later in the year when it launches."

Speaking to

The Independent

, Erksine was discussing wider issues than just the Apple partnership but briefly touched on the must-have moby.

The Indy states: "O2 refused to confirm that it has won the right to sell Apple's music-oriented handset exclusively in the UK, despite evidence appearing in source code on Carphone Warehouse's website".

O2 is widely tipped to be the UK carrier to get the iPhone in the UK, the fact that the CEO is happy to talk about the phone could be seen as a sign of confidence.

O2 is the UK's largest mobile phone operator, and saw its sales grow by over 10% in the three months to June.

During the interview Erksine also revealed that O2's planned broadband service for the UK has been delayed again, this time put back until October.