back to article iPhone solo loss stares O2 in the face

O2 is to lose the UK exclusive to the iPhone in October, according to documentation seen by a British mobile trade publication. Mobile Entertainment says the mobile operator solo status ends officially on 9 October. The magazine also quotes unnamed sources, who say that O2 may retain sole UK rights to the 3GS after this date …


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  1. Anonymous Coward


    I view this whole 'exclusivity' deal between Apple and whatever mobile operator they fancy (Varies per country) simply as anti-competitive. Let's pretend we're something special and only sell our crapola to the first peabrained goon able to sign their ob- I mean 'exclusive' sales contract. An iPhone is just another mobile phone, and should be widely available, on a network of your choosing, on a plan of your choosing, without limitation.

    But then that's the point of 'exclusive' isn't it, exclude everyone but the chosen one.

    Yet, if I want one of those bloody things, I *have* to go with T-Mobile over here, if I want to avoid paying the full advertised unit price of €1200 (Expansys) for just an iPhone 3G S. What a load of cobblers.

    But at least there's a small light at the end of the tunnel: HTC's Hero, equipped with Android, looks very nice function and price-wise, although I wish they would not have curved the bottom end.. sigh. Back to tin cans and string it is.

  2. Joe K

    Maybe Vodafone too?

    Vodafone were the first to give everyone free Twittering and DM's-as-texts a couple of months back(as O2 did recently), and the iPhone is like a Twitter-syringe, dispensing endless fixes as and when the addict needs it.

    Makes sense for them to have introduced this as a sweetener for a deal to come.

  3. Matt 53
    Thumb Up

    Good news

    Even though i'm an O2 customer, this should be good news. It might mean an end to the extortionate cost of getting an iPhone, and the ability to threaten to leave O2 if they p*** me about.

  4. Anon the mouse


    Please let them keep the exclusive,

    I don't want all the marketing crap from Orange when they get to sell the iPoo too

  5. ceebee

    iPhone monoply??? wow...

    Here in Australia the iPhone is available from four separate telcos and has been available from three of those since the release of the 3G!

    I find it amazing that in a market as big as the UK that only one telco has managed to have solo for so long ...but then look at the US or Canada!

    But according to the media yesterday all four have sold out! I am not sure if that is a sign of restricted supply or unexpected success or both?

  6. Chief sub

    Oh dear... Anonymous Coward miffed that he wasn't able to jump in first to post one of his "trolling for fanbois" comments? The fact that the original story isn't particularly anti-Apple probably baffled him for too long...

  7. Ivan Headache

    @ Heh

    Seems a bit odd to me that you range against the iPhone being only available on one network.

    What's the difference then with all the other phones that are exclusive to specific networks? (or have you not noticed?)

  8. Greg D

    @Cheif sub

    He's got a point though. It's totally anti-competetive behaivour. Also, they couldnt have picked a worse network to have an exclusive deal with... have you seen the Ofcom 3G coverage map?

  9. Pabs
    Paris Hilton

    iPhone not for me...

    not unti the drop the price and sort out their app store submission policy. Get rid of their dictatorship!

    I was wanting an iPhone, not because of the app store but because the device itself is great, technologically speaking. But with the exclusiveness to one carrier means inflated prices for long period of times, and their "this is an apple product and we will only allow what we seem fit to be on the device" attitude stinks! There is no openness where so many "smartphones" out there are.

    WinMo is, so so, but the HTC home app is a great way to hide the uglyness and android is looking good.

    The iPhone is going to die...except for those fanbois!

  10. Like, totallly


    "Orange and T-Mobile are the hot favourites to join in the UK iPhone beanfeast, according to Bill. No surprise here as both operators sell the iPhone in other countries"

    As does Vodafone, in Italy.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Chief sub

    Not really. And I do not actually own any kind of Apple hard- or software personally, but I do support both, and run Linux if that peaks your teats.

    What I posted previously was as seen from the eyes of john/jane doe on the street, looking through that window to the neatly arranged line-up of mobile phones in oh, just about every store we have here nowadays including the local supermarket.

    iPhones are sitting in the Top 3 of most expensive devices if you want just the handset, yet if you go for a 2 year contract of around €50/month with T-Mobile then you can have it for €99.95. By contrast, that makes the HTC Hero I mentioned look a lot more attractive, which you can get 'free' with a contract from a different provider that is down over half the price per month, and still has the same benefits (If you can call MMS at 50 cents a message a benefit, and 'unlimited' mobile internet, if you neglect to read the fine print about the caps). Which contract will john/jane change to, after having a look in their wallet in 2009? Exclusivity undermines choice; John likes the iPhone because it is shiny and does fancy things, but Jane will have his head if he spends this years grocery money on it.

    Purely a rant about cost vs benefit if you ask me in these times of crisis, with an added bit of wondering why the EU has not already put the boot in Apple's neck for the stupidity that is exclusivity.

    But perhaps you think that cost is not an issue? you can only spend it once mate, remember that.

  12. Steve Evans

    That explains it...

    This explains why Orange can't be arsed to sort out their firmware on the N97 and get it released a month after it should have been released. It's appeared as a coming soon on their website and vanished again. Their call centre staff (even the ones in "I'm thinking of leaving Orange" bit) don't know what's going on. Some say they've dropped it, other say testing a new batch. It's been going on like this for several weeks.

    If they think I'm going to be hanging about to buy the old model iPhone they have another thing coming.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Ivan Headache

    Not where I come from mate, any phone, any network - except Apple iPhone, which was the point of the rant in the first place.

  14. Dave Cumming


    If the EU went after Apple for exclusivity they'd have to go after all the other companies as well, in case it had escaped your attention as you were to busy trolling Apple stories pretty much every phone company and network have EXCLUSIVE phones of some shape or form, always have, almost certainly always will.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    iPhone / O2 monopoly

    It's not really anti-competitive behaviour any more than you only being able to buy an iPhone from Apple is anti-competitive.

    If the iPhone had a near monopoly in the phone market then I could sympathise but if you don't like the iPhone then buy a different phone, and if you don't like o2 then use a different telco.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Vodafone loses its EDGE

    Perhaps Voda isn't being muted as a new carrier in the UK is that they decided not to roll out EDGE and also have a rather rubbish 3G network? This leaves potential UK users with iPhones that could only limp along on standard GPRS connections or 3G in the places that Vodafone have managed to roll it out.

  17. Paulds11
    Jobs Halo

    about bl#']y time

    Good, Ive always questioned the wisdom of theis one supplier issue, itll drive so much more sales but lets be honest o2 have made some good money out of Apple but thee iPhone should really be a T-Mobile device as they have in my mind the best packages and service

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Exclusivity a non-issue

    Non-exclusivity hasn't made a jot of difference here in Italy where three separate network providers are offering the iphone (Vodafone, TIM and 3). Their pricing is pretty much identical across the board. They all also allow you to purchase the phone unlocked off-contract with no lock-in for exactly the same price of 720 euros (32gb model).

    And what's more, here we also get Apple selling the unlocked iphone directly to the public off-contract from the Apple Italy website, with free delivery. Think that's a good move? Hasn't made a difference. Apple price is a mere 20 euros less than that of the networks!

    Think again if you believe that things will change the more networks offer the iphone. People want it and they'll pay any price for it.

  19. NogginTheNog

    @Heh / AC

    Mr. AC, can you please explain to me why if you dislike the "piece of crap" iPhone so much, why do you give a flying fuck about it being sold only tied to one network??

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Dave Cumming

    Wouldn't mind if they do, all exclusivity does is cater to price fixing and underhanded sales tactics.

    And would you mind pointing out which companies and what phones exactly you absolutely cannot get on your preferred network (Without resorting to breach of contract and device warranty/EULA)? because I can't find any other.

    If you were talking about exclusivity in terms of offering a competitive price and well featured contract, then I can understand your comment.

  21. Michael Downie
    Thumb Up

    @ Dave Cumming

    you're right, all the other networks have their exclusive phones. T-Mobile have the G1 and G2, Vodafone have the Blackberry Storm and the HTC Magic et al, however, all the networks will allow you to unlock your exclusive handset with the subsidy pin after having owned it for a month. My G1 is on Vodafone half the time and my wife's T-Mobile Samsung Tocco Ultra is on Orange occasionally because she hasnt ported her old number yet. Both these phones were legally unlocked, for a £15 fee each from T-Mobile.

    I've asked o2 and the iPhone is the only handset they offer where they wont give you a subsidy PIN, no matter what you offer them in form of payment. Thats the bit I find the hardest to swallow, that the only way (at the minute by all accounts) that I could have an iPhone on T-Mobile, with my hugely better priceplan than anything o2 offer, is to either buy a second hand, illegally unlocked one, get a contract with o2 and pay an extra contract and an exorbitant cost for the handset, or go to and pay upwards of £500 for last years technology or upwards of £799 for this year's iPhone legally unlocked. I think not.

    I dont care of T-Mobile dont get the 3GS. The difference between the 3G and the 3GS is nothing for me. I wont use tethering, the point of Voice control is lost on me and I already have a satnav, so a digital compass is not something i'm interested in. I'm not a big mobile gamer and i will be using the web browser over wifi, so the HSDPA speeds arent a concern. So a 3G will suit me fine lol

    I will take donations of iphone's though

  22. Jim 4

    Anyone heard of the free market?

    Any vendor has the right to sell their product however they want and for whatever price they deem appropriate provided that the purchaser has a choice. There are many alternatives to the iPhone that provide sufficient funtionality. The Apps Store is a more complex issue but that is not the object of this article.

    "An iPhone is just another mobile phone, and should be widely available, on a network of your choosing, on a plan of your choosing, without limitation."

    Er... No...Stop moaning about not being able to get the device you want for the price YOU want, the price and function are set buy the vendor and you have the choice of whether to buy this device or one of the (very) many alternatives. It would appear that many are happy with the deal being offered so your bargaining position is weak...

    Oh, and you can get a legally unlocked 3GS for €850 (or less) if you know where to look.

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