UK mobile telephone operator T-Mobile is allegedly scouring Europe for contract-free Apple iPhones according to a weekend report.

The Telegraph claimed on Sunday the move to supply iPhones was an attempt to appease unhappy customers threatening to leave T-Mobile for O2.

CIO 100 ranked T-Mobile customers would likely have to pay a premium price for the imported iPhones however, a move unlikely to have customers queuing around the block.

T-Mobile is currently lagging behind rivals as the fourth-largest mobile phone operator in the UK. Recent rumours suggest that German parent Deutsche Telekom could be willing to sell T-Mobile to a rival.

In May, Deutsche Telekom wrote down the value of T-Mobile UK by €1.8bn (£1.6bn)

In the meantime, Richard Moat the new UK managing director of T-Mobile. poached from Orange, has been entrusted to turn fortunes around.

The Telegraph newspaper claimed: "Sources at T-Mobile said Apple will be powerless to stop the ingenious plan as Apple's contract with O2 does not prevent other companies importing SIM-free iPhones from abroad."

A report last week suggested T-Mobile might go down a more legitimate route and was in talks with Apple about offering the iPhone 3G to customers, while O2 retained exclusivity on the iPhone 3G S.