European mobile operators have been convinced to agree to the "tough terms" for securing rights to Apple’s iPhone, according to American Technology Research Shaw Wu.

Wu says that the initial sales of the iPhone in the US will have convinced carriers to be more amenable to Apple's demands for securing the rights to distribute the device.

The analyst notes that the iPhone is a powerful enough draw for consumers to persuade them to switch from other networks in order to get their hands on the device.

"Our sources indicate that around 25 percent of iPhone-AT&T customers are 'switchers' from other carriers," he writes.

This could be good news for Europeans who already want an iPhone, as it could mean more competition between networks to carry the device, he suggests.

"Our sources also continue to indicate that Vodafone remains the front runner and most likely carrier partner for iPhone in Europe," Wu writes, but notes that the initial success of the product has created a bidding war for rights.

"Other carriers including Orange, T-Mobile, and O2 are aggressively bidding for European iPhone rights," he states.

O2 has been hotly tipped to be Apple’s iPhone launch partner in the UK, with rumours suggesting the handset could become available in the UK as soon as September.

Wu also suspects Apple may work with multiple carriers in Europe in order to play a full part in the more fragmented - and more mature - mobile phone market here.

"There could be a scenario where iPhone is sold by multiple carriers with each tailored for specific regions/countries," he said, adding his prediction that Apple is in position to secure terms similar to those it gained from AT&T.

Wu adds: "Over the next two to three years, we continue to believe that iPhone has the potential to bring smartphone technology into the mainstream, particularly as Apple rounds out its iPhone product line with mid-range and entry-level offerings, just as it did with the iPod and portable media players. We believe the iPhone is among the must-own gifts for this year's holiday shopping season.

See also:

Apple iPhone to launch in UK 'in September'

Apple iPhone: the definitive review