Representatives from Apple Computer and O2, the U.K. mobile operator, declined to confirm or deny reports published today which claimed the two firms were collaborating on the launch of Europe's first iPhone service.

Today's edition of the Financial Times daily newspaper insists that O2, part of the Spanish telecoms giant Telefonica and the U.K.'s biggest wireless carrier with about 18 million subscribers, is about to sign an iPhone agreement with Apple.

It claims that O2 is about to become the exclusive U.K. mobile-network partner for the iPhone.

An Apple Europe spokesperson, however, told, "Apple doesn't comment on rumour or speculation."

And a media representative from O2 adds: "At the moment, it is all rumor and pure speculation, which has taken us by surprise this morning. And we would not comment on rumors."

Should the speculation ring true, O2 will be the first European wireless to clinch a deal with iPhone, which is set to launch in the region this fall.

As Telefonica also operates other European carriers, such as O2 Germany, O2 Ireland, O2 Czech Republic and Telefonica Moviles in Spain, the O2 U.K. deal could lead to a multi-market introduction for the iPhone in Europe.