Telefonica today confirmed speculation it has signed an exclusive agreement with Palm to offer the high-profile Pre device initially in Spain via Movistar, and in the UK, Ireland and Germany via its O2 mobile subsidiaries. No specific details of pricing or availability were announced, although a launch around October seems likely as a statement noted it will be unveiled “in time for the winter holidays.” It is not known how long Telefonica’s exclusive deal with Palm will last. The deal sees Telefonica score another major exclusive smartphone deal, following success with Apple’s iPhone. “We are fast becoming the home of the smartphone with the addition of the hotly-anticipated Palm Pre to our already extensive portfolio,” said Matthew Key, chairman and CEO of Telefonica Europe. “Our customers will be the first outside of North America to experience one of the most successful mobile devices of the year.”

Last month US operator Sprint-Nextel became the first operator worldwide to launch the Pre. Canadian operator Bell will also launch the device later this year. Palm is hoping the device – which runs its new mobile operating system, webOS – will help turn around company fortunes. Two weeks ago the vendor announced that losses in its fiscal fourth-quarter had widened to US$105 million as revenue dropped 71 percent to US$86.8 million. Early reviews of the Pre device were positive. Palm’s shares have already almost quadrupled since the phone was first unveiled in early January.