Print 13 comment(s) - last by plewis00.. on Jul 6 at 6:44 AM

O2 gets exclusive rights to the iPhone in the United Kingdom

The United Kingdom will soon have access to Apple's new iPhone. According to the Times Online, the iPhone will be tied exclusively to O2.

Vodafone, Europe's largest mobile phone carrier, had been the early favorite for an iPhone contract. Although the exact details of the deal haven't been disclosed, it is thought that O2 will share a portion of revenues generated from each iPhone customer with Apple.

Thousands of customers ditched their mobile phone providers in the United States to hop on the iPhone/AT&T bandwagon. O2 expects to see the same fortunes when the iPhone is released in the UK. However, what’s good for O2 likely won’t be good for potential buyers currently on competing networks. Early disconnect fees are likely to add even more to the initial purchase cost of the iPhone (just as they do across the pond).

While O2 is tipped as being the sole provider of iPhone service in the UK, T-Mobile is expected to get sole rights to the iPhone in Germany and Orange is favored in France.

The iPhone launch in the United States was quite successful for both Apple and AT&T. Apple sold over 500,000 iPhones during the first three days of availability at a price of $499 (4GB) and $599 (8GB). For its part, AT&T lured customers in with rate plans of $59.99, $79.99 and $99.99 respectively plus a one-time activation fee of $36.

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By ghost101 on 7/5/2007 12:36:46 PM , Rating: 2
The UK mobile phone market is extremely competitive. The iphone will find it very difficult if the charges are $499 + VAT and a contract on top. In the UK, it is possible to get the latest phones for free while you pay a contract which goes a way to subsidising the cost of the phone.

Take for example the Nokia N95. It is available from on a very popular site for free on an o2 contract which chsrges £43 a month for 18 months.

RE: Competition
By Griswold on 7/5/2007 1:03:15 PM , Rating: 2
Its the same in almost all european countries. Apple might face a royal failure if they attempt the same (price) stunt there as they did in the US. People in europe are used to cheapass hardware, even if its the newest thing on the scene, albeit with a two year contract. I dont even remember the last time I put money down for a mobile phone when getting a new one.

As for the article, this is just a bunch of rumors anyway. I find it hard to believe that vodafone will miss the opportunity in the three biggest euro markets - as the biggest player in europe too. I take this "its a done deal" thing with more than just a grain of salt.

RE: Competition
By spluurfg on 7/5/2007 1:48:09 PM , Rating: 2
Considering Vodafone's attitude in general, I'm not surprised if they'd be a difficult partner for a launch like this. They have a habit of trying to keep all the profits to themselves. Sure, they own networks in most of northwestern Europe, but they still are not always the largest provider: Telefonica's O2 is largest in the UK, and I believe Deutche Telecom's T-Mobile and France's Orange are largest in their respective markets.

And while it may technically be a rumor still, by the time it hits the front page of the Financial Times, it's probably a done deal.

Funny to see all the networks scramble for the iPhone. If they collectively stood tough, they could get whatever terms they wanted -- how would Apple sell it without a network to back them? Apple sure played this one right with exclusive partnership.

RE: Competition
By kelmon on 7/5/2007 3:34:50 PM , Rating: 2
Irritatingly, having become used to the free-phone idea in the UK I was depressed to discover that this doesn't exist in Belgium. Here we are being protected from phone companies by having to pay full-price for a mobile and hence I've not "bought" a mobile phone in the last 4-years. I am fully expecting the iPhone to be subsidised in the UK else it will find it difficult to compete but that's going to cause problems for Apple - too cheap with a standard contract and it'll cannibalise the sales of the highly profitable iPod.

I did used to subscribe with O2 (or BT Cellnet as they were called at the time) and they were OK. Vodafone, who I went with next, were much more of a pain as they wouldn't even let me do international roaming until I'd been with them for about 3-months; Cellnet had let me do this immediately.

RE: Competition
By plewis00 on 7/5/2007 2:43:23 PM , Rating: 2
You can get that on a 12m contract for £35 with Vodafone:

Anyway, I never trusted O2, I'm sure they will drag customers in with the iPhone. But seriously, what tech/power user with a mobile has a phone without (at the very least) 3G let alone HSDPA internet access? The iPhone's use of EDGE is a joke, I heard there was going to be a 3G version out in 2008, but honestly, rather than cramming all this tech in there why not put in one of the essentials? With all these unlimited internet use packages doing the rounds and knowing 1st hand how slow GPRS really is not to mention the complaints of the speed, I'm shocked by their decision-making, because with 3G it really could've revolutionised the phone industry over here. In the UK, we do use 3G especially with the internet packages - I use T-Mobile with Web 'n' Walk. I for one won't drop my N95 for this phone, and call it personal opinion but I think there's a large number who wouldn't do it either.

RE: Competition
By ghost101 on 7/5/2007 3:50:24 PM , Rating: 2
Thats a very nice offer.

As for 3G, according to some sites the European offering will have 3G.

RE: Competition
By plewis00 on 7/5/2007 5:19:26 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, I heard that there will be a 3G-variant but we'll have to wait for it. To be honest, for such a high-tech phone I am thoroughly-shocked it didn't have it in the first place, 3G is essential, even more so for a phone pitched as an internet device. WiFi is all well and good but 3G is for true-mobility.

I love this part here...
By Bioniccrackmonk on 7/5/2007 1:28:01 PM , Rating: 3
For its part, AT&T lured customers in with rate plans of $59.99, $79.99 and $99.99 respectively plus a one-time activation fee of $36.

I don't know about the rest of America, but I don't see anything "luring" about this. More like a "we got dibs on it so we will get every penny out of it" kind of luring. I wish Cingular was never sold to AT&T, it is a slippery slope to not so great service.

RE: I love this part here...
By Oregonian2 on 7/5/2007 1:53:46 PM , Rating: 2
Cingular had always been half owned by AT&T, Cingular was a joint-venture company. Seeing as how AT&T was bought out or merged with the other baby bell half owner (keeping the historical AT&T name) Cingular was now owned by a single company. So it took the name as well. I think the original AT&T cell phone service (that I think had been absorbed into Cingular) has just been a "legacy user" situation judging by comments I see in AT&T's online "help" system. I know the original AT&T customer service had been really terrible at one point when they upgraded their software system to one that didn't work -- and they had no way to roll back to the old one. Hopefully that was all switched over to a working Cingular system. The current AT&T web self-help "customer service" seems to work well even if some things it does is kinda dumb (like not being able to get detailed information on one's plan other than a six bullet item list sort of level where "see more detail" link leads to that very bullet list. Nowhere have I ever seen a written statement to when "night calls" start. I can find a general statement about "most plans" and a reference that I should see my own plan. But I've never had such a detailed plan on paper or online to see.) Sigh..

As to their rate plans, the rates for 'unlimited" data is pretty good compared to previous plans and T-mobile plans that I looked at (was locked to GSM for international use). Their normal plans really are insanely priced for data transfer so these new plans are much less so, even if they seem high compared to normal ISP prices.

RE: I love this part here...
By Oregonian2 on 7/5/2007 1:55:17 PM , Rating: 2
P.S. - Prices and plans probably vary by area. Like whether 3G is available or not.

By bubbacub616 on 7/5/2007 12:52:36 PM , Rating: 2
was hoping tmobile would get the contract as they have by far the most reasonable prices for data. their web and walk packages give you something like 10 gigs a month. am almost thinking of packing in the broadband and going wireless on a 3g datacard (looks like the iphone ain't for me then!)

RE: Disapointing
By plewis00 on 7/6/2007 6:44:14 AM , Rating: 2
With T-Mobile's Web 'n' Walk on the phone packages it is £7.50p/m for the basic one (which is what I have) but you can't use it as a modem for your PC and get a 1Gb allowance. In fairness, this is excellent and you really can kick the arse out of it even with an N95 and still not get anywhere near it. It's another £5p/m to use it as a modem with your PC (for the Plus package) and another £5p/m on top of that (for the Max package) giving you VoIP as well. You can use the standard package as a modem, I did it yesterday, it's only if they detect your usage, which I find hard to believe as some of the latest phones are so powerful I think they'd find it hard to determine what device exactly trasmitted that data pattern.

They have data only packages but they come with a datacard and won't come with an iPhone. Sounds like you missed out on the old Web 'n' Walk Pro package which was £20p/m for unlimited use! It's now £29p/m and £44p/m respectively.

Anyway, at the end of the day, T-Mobile's coverage is the worst by far, and they have little clout, I doubt they'd be able to secure an iPhone deal against O2 and Vodafone, let alone Orange.

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