back to article Vodafone joins the iPhone throng

Vodafone has confirmed it will be selling Apple’s iPhone in the UK and Ireland from early next year, joining Orange as notches on Jobs’s bedstead. Vodafone will be selling the iPhone from "early 2010", and while we don't have details of tariffs and contracts, consumer groups are already falling over themselves to herald a new …


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  1. Jay 2
    Thumb Up

    About bloody time too!

    Though I would much prefer to get a SIM-free unlocked iPhone and use it as and when I wish!

  2. gautam

    Dumbness all around!

    Dumb Pipers, Dumb buyers(Payers) and dumb masses. Its only a touch phone after all!

    Wonder whats the saturation point (in numbers of iphones) in all this? When wil this madness end?

    Cartelisation of tariffs ? You bet !

  3. Alastair McFarlane
    Thumb Up

    Still won't buy one...

    As I'm not much interested in owning an iPhone. However, it's great that O2 have finally lost the exclusivity that made them so smug in the past.

    'grats to Orange and Vodaphone

  4. lukewarmdog


    @OP you can have an unlocked iPhone if you want, if you're prepared to pay for it which is what most people aren't. It's about time there was more choice of provider and thank someone that the choice was widened to more than just Orange.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Remember the days when the RAZR ruled the world?

    If you didn't have it on your network, you were toast: evenutally everyone did, with near-identical price plans and the only real distinguishing feature was the carrier sticker on the back. The difference being that Motorola sat back on its laurels and then went straight down the toilet when failing to invest in the future came to bite them in the arse, whereas Apple is aggressively making a profit at every step of the chain, without managing to blow the iPhone's fashionability with weak updates.

  6. Matt Bryant Silver badge

    Nothing wrong with being a dumb pipe.....

    ..... as long as you make a profit out of it. The carriers' offerings on Blackberrys for example have rarely differed much, though Voda did manage a few exclusives. But nobody contends the RIM dumb pipes haven't been very profitable for the carriers.

    Personally, I'm amazed the iBone hype bubble hasn't burst yet, but then that's sheeple for you. Evdiently, Voda thinks there's enough fleece left in the hurd to churn a profit.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    Business users...

    At work we're forced to use Vodafone and won't allow voda sims to be used in iPhones. If the handset price is sensible (£0 on the business tariffs) then I'd imagine everyone would wholesale switch from a crapberry to the iPhone.

    If the handset cost is more than a crapberry then most companies will still force them on staff.

  8. paulf

    Pre-register link

    Any Voda-fanbois can register interest here:

    The link doesn't appear to be on the main voda site but is available in the press release:

    Paris because she ought to operate a pre-register system to avoid disorderly queues...

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Official announcement mention iPhone 3G, not the 3GS. However, some web sites have indicated the 3GS is going to be available from alternate carriers. It'd be useful to clarify. The 3GS is still in demand with wait times in most regions...

  10. RichyS

    Reality check

    This has been the reality for some time now. Despite the best efforts of the marketing monkeys inside the operators to pretend otherwise (I used to work for one of these operators, so know how delusional the marketeers can be!).

    Before the iPhone, punters used to walk into a Carphone Warehouse or wherever and ask for whatever Nokia was coolest amongst their chav friends that week. Then they'd see which operator was cheapest. Very few people go into a shop and demand to be on Vodafone/Orange/T-Mob (delete as applicable), unless they have some serious reception issues at home/work.

    People want phones. As long as they can get enough minutes, SMS, and data cheap enough, they couldn't give a shit about the WAP portal, music download service, other marketing guff the operators come up with. Apple know this, and know they can shaft the operators and get away with it. Good luck to them. I might even get an iPhone now...

  11. Steven Jack
    Thumb Up

    Got to be good news for pricing

    Having 3 operators in the UK selling the Iphone has got to be good news for pricing and general terms and conds.

    I've got a 16GB 3G S and before that a 3G with O2 and they do charge premium tarrifs for the iphone with less text messages than you would get if I had a Nokia and paid the same, so hopefully this will work out for Joe public.

    Bring it on!

  12. AC 4
    Thumb Down

    even with vodafone

    I'll still never own one and will be proud to be able to say so when my time at the perly gates comes.

    "So what have you achieved in your lifetime sonny?"

    "Well, let's see, I never owned a diePhone."

    "What? That's impossible. You lie."

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Where pray tell ...

    ... does one procure a network unlocked legitimate iphone in the UK? I know I can get one from Italy, but a UK one would be nice.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Poor 'ickle mobile operators...

    Cry me a fuckin' river...

  15. TeeCee Gold badge
    Jobs Horns

    This is worrying.

    The fact that the networks (all of 'em) are prepared to cut their own throats like this to push the Cupertino toy of the week means they *must* be expecting the sodding thing to become the de facto standard, so they've got to be in the game or lose.

    One day, maybe we'll all look back and wonder what happened to competition in mobile telephony when Apple / iTunes / iPhone / iVoda23OraMobile is the only game in town and that year's 15% price hike comes through.....

  16. Anonymous Coward


    LOL. Talk about being insecure. Who cares what phone *you* own.

  17. Bill Ray (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Vaugeness

    Both Orange and Vodafone will be selling the 3GS, we've had this confirmed by both companies.

  18. cdtplug
    Thumb Down

    unlocked iphone

    how much!!!

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yay. That means I can stay on the good red network!

    I'm most pleased by that announcement.


  20. windywoo
    Jobs Horns

    For a second I misread as

    iPhone thong. For those who are so image conscious they even want their pants to coordinate with their bling.

  21. Patrick 14

    Its funny

    I'm no fan of Apple, BUT over the years I have had a number of the Dumb Smartphones from palm windows mobile etc, and to be honest they was shite.

    Slag off Apple all you want but the iPhone works. Its that simple.

    I can cannot even remember all the times MS phones needed a reboot to work again, just about everyday.

    Yes its not the most upto date phone spec's . its one of the mobile I use the most ever.

    Its quite stable i only have the 8gb.

    Before if I wanted a quick look on the net I would get out my laptop, where as all I have to do is start wifi and I can view the websites I look at.

    like I said Knock Apple all you want but it WORKS

    And if you have never used one long term then Please leave it alone...

    It can also make phone calls to LOL

  22. T.F. The Magnificent, Flying Trapeze Gumby Brothers and Furniture Removals.
    Jobs Horns

    "but those customers will be loyal to Apple, not Vodafone or Orange"

    Erm. Two reasons why I didn't get the iphone before...

    1. Vodafone is reception king in quite a lot of places in Ireland.

    2. All of my family are on Vodafone, and with their PAYG where you can get free Vodafone-Vodafone calls and texts for topping up buy 20 euro a month, its a no brainer to stay. Other networks here might have similar or cheaper offers, but coupled with point 1, its a winner.

    Apple might think that they are going to build customer loyalty, but you have to start getting customers to build loyalty. That's why they're breaking away from O2, because it has reached its sales limits. Anyone on O2 who wants an iphone has one. But for me, as ready explained, knowing that the iphone is there is welcome news.

    Evil Steve, because he is.

  23. Bilgepipe
    Gates Horns


    Why do so many people post that they'll never own an iPhone? Do they think anyone cares?

  24. Anonymous Coward


    Bargain at £200 discount *rolls eyes*

  25. Gulfie

    "control over the pricing"

    If Apple control pricing across multiple carriers, isn't that effectively a cartel between Apple and the operators, if they are not allowed to compete on price?

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    re. This is worrying.

    I don't think that Apple will ever get a dominant position in the mobile phone market; they just aren't interested in making or selling the kind of low-end phone that makes up the majority of the market world-wide. However they are taking a significant chunk of the premium phone market, and those are the accounts that the networks want to get and keep, so O2's deal makes sense as it was a way of luring a relatively profitable user-base to its network. Orange and Voda just want to level the playing field, which should be good for customers in the long run.

    If it ever comes to 3, I might even be tempted myself (I can't believe I wrote that!)

  27. Annihilator


    "But Apple's demands for a share of user revenue, as well as control over the pricing and marketing of their baby, put some operators off signing a deal with Cupertino. This will likely result in near-identical offerings, differing only in the colours of the attached logos"

    I've never seen an O2 logo anywhere near my iPhone, not even on the box. Only place is on the sim card, which let's face it is hardly on show. Vodaphone and Orange's iPhones won't differ in the slightest, just where it shows the network operator in the top left corner. Apple won't let anyone sully their brand.

    Pricing will quite likely not change. Apple are dictating the prices and operator margins are squeezed to the absolute mimimum. Customers won't benefit from this financially, it'll just give people a choice of who their operator is - coverage is all it will come down to and that will be a personal choice based on location. The only other difference will be support and let's face it, they're all as bad as each other.

    @cdtplug - you really don't think that locked phone owners aren't paying this through their network charges anyway?

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns


    There will be no competition really, the iPhone will cost the same on 02/Voda/Orange, free if you want to pay £75/pm and donate a liver to Jobs, or £5730 if you're willing to pay £30/pm and only donate a kidney to jobs, the only difference will be which services the provider, err provides. Except they won't be able to will they? The phones should be identical no matter which network you're on due to Apple not wanting their pretty toy sullied.

    I really cannot see how this can be good for the consumer, the only thing I *can* see is that if 02/Voda/Orange all charge *exactly* the same price for the phones with near identical tarrifs trading standards could investigate price fixing, which is illegal.

    We could so easily see a future where there are only a few names left making phones, Nokia, Apple, Palm and HTC with SE running in last place, but with the iPhone being tied so strongly into iTunes, once you buy a iPhone you're stuck with them for future generations too.

  29. Neur0mancer
    Jobs Horns


    Well well well well well. Well.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Halo

    love my iphone

    whats with the iphone complaining?

    Mines an average phone with a crap camera (1st gen)

    but a brilliant internet/email device, brilliant iPod and brilliant all round gadget.

    I listen to (free) podcast's every day, I show people videos and photos of my kids. I listen to the radio over wifi. I am lost without it.

    My only big regret is the expense, mainly because my wife is demanding one after enjoying mine. ( I got one for £180 and unlocked it to vodafone network running an ASDA PAYG sim card.)

    Apple has produced an excellent product, steadily improved it (GPS, 3G) and is fully entitled to reap its rewards.

    Meanwhile hopefully android/palm will provide adequate competition to stop apple locking up functions and charging too much.

    The operators are the dumb pipes they have long deserved to be: simply ISP's in my mind.

    As prices fall and network coverage improves, I fully expect the complainers to eat their words. Most of my mates have grudgingly submitted, but none would go back.

  31. Bob Kentridge

    Re: unlocked iphone #

    Or a penny under £900 for an unlocked white 32GB 3GS from the same place - actually makes the O2 contract look reasonable!

  32. Andy 115
    Jobs Halo

    Fruit Salad?

    Surely now (when) Orange and Voda are allowed to sell iPhones, the models (sim free) available in the UK apple stores will have to be fully unlocked (al-la Hong Kong etc)?

    Can't wait to see "iPhone 3G & iPhone 3GS purchased at the Apple Online Store can be activated with any wireless carrier. Simply insert the SIM from your current phone into iPhone 3G or iPhone 3GS and connect to

    iTunes 8.2 to complete activation" on the UK store :-)

    To think, I was crying into my beer in Hong Kong last week because everywhere had sold out and I wasn't able to buy one in the time I had there. - Roll on "Fruit Salad" (TM another poster)!

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why the bitterness?

    iBone? DiePhone? What's all this crap about? You say you've never even owned one! I'm no Apple fanboy and really detest Macs. Having had to use one for 6 months, I really don't see what the fuss is about, but the iPhone is an excellent piece of kit, so where is this vitriol and bitterness stemming from?

  34. Listerdude
    Thumb Up

    Good...for me!

    not an apple fanboy (I have never owned a Mac) but after trying lots of touch screen phones I still haven't found one as good as the iPhone.

    I still own an original iPhone it's unlocked and running on Orange. So this is good news to me. It means I can upgrade my phone to a new 3G. Great!

  35. Putonghua73
    Jobs Halo

    re: It's Funny

    I agree with Patrick 14's sentiment. I own(ed) a Nokia E71 and fell in love during the 'honeymoon' period - which remarkably, lasted approx 2 months. During the 3rd month, relations cooled and deteriorated dramatically due to primarily to S60.

    The UI and O/S were so clunky that it took an inordinate amount of time to set up my phone, set up the various widgets and I still wasn't happy because of the sheer amount of work involved.

    There is a certain inherent elitism that if a task is difficult or requires technical knowledge, then it is inherently better i.e. all the comments that one needs to be "smart" to use a smart-phone. Apple have exploded that myth by focusing on design and the user-experience.

    My 3G iPhone has the same functionality comparatively as my E71, but the iPhone performs those functions much more elegantly and with minimum intrusiveness. It does just work! More to the point, my requirements were for additional languages (East-Asian re: Chinese and Japanese) including keyboards - and Apple provides this natively. The E71 on the other hand ..

    I bought my iPhone - jailbroken and unlocked - from a guy on Gumtree because I already had a decent deal with T-Mobile (although there are better deals when my contract expires next August 2010) and the total cost of ownership was lower buying a 2nd hand iPhone and using my existing contract than the other options. Persisting with my E71 was not an option.

    The best thing about the mobile market is that it is becoming increasingly competitive with a variety of handsets to suit the needs of users.

    It really doesn't matter if you use an iPhone, Pre, Android, Symbian or Windows. What is important is that there is a deal (price, handset, operator, yada yada yada) to suit most needs.

    On the subject of operators, I've always been a happy and relatively loyal T-Mobile customer, despite forays to 3 (abysmal service a couple of years back - can anyone comment on what they are like now?) and Virgin.

    Time to check on deteriorating value of a 2nd hand E71 as I need to sell mine.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Correct names people!

    We've had Vodaphone, Iphone, 02... it's Vodafone, iPhone, and O2. Come on.

    Also, it seems the more people who wake up to the iPhone and buy one, the dissenter's opinions become even more polarised and extreme... "I WILL NEVER EVER EVER EVER OWN ONE, AND I WILL TELL GOD THAT WHEN I GET TO HEAVEN, AND WE WILL HAVE A GOOD LAUGH ABOUT IT HA HA HA HA HA. PS. PRAISE ALLAH."

    Yeah yeah, get back to your WinMo brick and

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don't care about the gayPhone

    Where is my HTC Hero Vodafone?

    I want a decent mobile, that's open rather than locked down, that has a replaceable battery, that has mobile phone features that have been standard for a decade and that's not a fucking brick. Preferably I'd like it to not explode too.

    The iPhone fails miserably in all these areas, I'm more interested in proper phones than the fun to play with but shit to actually use toy that is the iPhone.

  38. Anonymous Coward


    I have a Blackberry and I want to run OSX on it!

    This Apple monopoly in the mobile market is anti-trust and anti-competitive! I will be taking Apple to task over this as soon as I can find a judge willing to bend an ear!

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    So.... What does this mean for the next big thing?

    So is this the end game for apples current phone of choice.....

    ......are we to see the next big thing released Q1/Q2 of next year?

  40. noboard
    Thumb Up

    Very little benefit for iPhone customers

    Apart from network choice, everything else will stay the same.

    For the rest of us however it should be a corking time. All the free gifts you get along with your phone should all bump up in quality.

    My G1 with free iPod touch will keep me going until next summer when my contracts up, at which time I'll have a bigger choice of android phones and another free gift of my choice. Only thing I loose is the extra space the G1 takes up in my pocket, but the corking keyboard more than makes up for it.

    The network operators getting screwed by all the iPhone users is just the icing on the cake.

  41. Alex C

    Great news

    An iPhone that works outside smog filled areas.

    I'm sick of O2 and their crap network.

    Can the latest breed of android phones shrug off the sluggishness that is allowing the iPhone to remain one step ahead, in time?

  42. Anonymous Coward


    Pay as you go! Save your pennies!

  43. Anonymous Coward

    So if I buy one from Apple.....

    So if I buy an iPhone from Apple, are they now going to supply it unlocked?

    And will there be any way we can force Apple to unlock a phone that has been bought direct?

    I can understand the Operator not wanting to supply the unlock code, but if Apple is selling the product to run on various networks then there is no legitimate reason to lock it to any one of them. It will only be detrimental to their business.

    Hmmm, perhaps might be worth waiting until 18th October when Orange (allegedly) announce the pricing (and 25th when iPhones will allegedly start to ship).

    (Thanks to Carphone Warehouse for the inside info)

  44. Piggy and Tazzy


    Does this mean we'll now be able to 'legitimately' unlock the bloody things now?

    As someone else already said - if the phone is now to be available on competing networks, then there's surely no reason to continue locking us to the crap show that is O2.

    Personally, it really, really pisses me off that even though I've paid (via the PAYG route) for my phone and O2 won't unlock so that I can use an operator of my own choosing. I think they're pushing the limits of the law in telling us that we're never allowed to leave them. As far as I'm concerned, it's MY phone and I should be able to go wherever I bloody hell want to - WITHOUT having to resort to jailbreaking.

    Contracts, on the other hand... That's a different matter altogether. That bunch signed up for a fixed term, loyalty, subsidised handsets, etc. Well I didn't. I purchased a phone. Never wanted to and never will want their crap service - hence paying more to avoid the contract. As such, I should be free to go wherever I want to.

    I'm actually stunned that no-one has challenged them (via legal means) over this already.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Piggy and Tazzy Surely it's worth a try...

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    You might now have more networks...

    ... but you still can't persuade me to buy anything from Apple.

    *Now where's me bargepole*

  47. Robert Hill

    "Unlocked" does not follow...

    Unlocked does not automatically flow from having three networks offer it. It's all about the subsidy - O2, and presumably Orange and Voda, massively subsidize the cost of the handset, which is why they lock it. That way they make it up over the course of the contract. So I doubt Orange and Voda will be selling them unlocked.

    Unlocked iPhones available in other countries are very expensive - and IF the Apple stores in the UK sell unlocked iPhones I would expect them to be very expensive (>£600) as well, and of course for that you get no service plan whatsoever - and at the rate that iPhone users use data you will WANT an unlimited data plan. (And if you are not using that much data, then why buy the iPhone?)

    Looking at the math's, the telcos subsidies usually seem to be a better deal, unless one of them is offereing a stonking good unlimited data plan that is very, very cheap...not holding my breath for it.

  48. Ty
    Jobs Halo


    You Windows-loving fools are so funny.

    "I hate Macs but my iPhone just works, it's great!"


    Wakey wakey!!!!!

    Apple is selling mobile Macs by stealth and you haven't realised 2 years down the road.


  49. Master Baker

    @where pray tell

    Expansys are selling unlocked ones. But they're around £900 a pop.

    Too much for my wallet. I'd rather spend it on crack and whores. And beer.

  50. CitizenErazed
    Paris Hilton

    'I hate macs, but...'

    Why do all the iPhone lovers feel the need to preface their comments with that? You don't see me doing it, a la 'I hate Google but my Hero R0X0R5!'.

    If you like something, shout about it! For me there's a few too many features missing and concerns over control (replaceable battery. PLEASE.). Although more network choices can only be a good thing, even if they all charge the same. Might force one or two of them to do something about that vaunted 'customer service' I hear so much about...

    Paris cos she's often defending her loves...

  51. Andy 115

    @ Robert Hill

    "Unlocked iPhones available in other countries are very expensive - and IF the Apple stores in the UK sell unlocked iPhones I would expect them to be very expensive (>£600) as well"

    Not strictly so, a "locked" (to o2) PAYG phone from Apple's UK store is what £540 for a 32GB?

    The same model (completely "unlocked", by Apple themselves no less) from the Hong Kong Apple store is about £490 so we actually pay more in this country to have them locked to o2.... (obviously exchange rate fluctuations, but basically I think Apple have aimed for a consistent price between countries for the "PAYG" models they supply themselves)

    There is no reason why the PAYG phones supplied by Apple in the UK can't be supplied without operator locks (when the o2 "exclusive" expires at the end of next month I mean)

    The "Unlocked ones" you mention are I suspect the ones that are "grey" imports from places such as HK and Italy - I saw one at Dubai Airport yesterday - >$900. I think et al also import them from places that have them unlocked by default and slap a hefty mark-up on them.

    My point is, if Apple apply the same logic to the UK PAYG phones they supply, there is no need for them to be more expensive then they already are.

  52. Anonymous Coward

    Voda iPhone + Femto?

    So maybe 3G will finally be of use indoors and out.

    Having become fed up with O2's data services on my iPhone lately, and also having bugger all 3G coverage in my house (yes West London is sooo rural), maybe a Voda iPhone and Femto combination will be a big hit.

    Roll on contract expiry day :)

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Jobs is missing a trick?

    I am probably wrong but would it not be better business practice for Apple to just sell their iphones unlocked and in retail stores just like they do with their ipods? Then they have a potential customer base of billions perhaps. I know every fecker how has an Argos would buy at least one this christmas.

  54. Anonymous Coward

    dumb you said Bill?

    I'd be careful if I were you to use such words.

    your analysis about the iphone aren't particularly smart.

  55. Anonymous Coward


    "THE IPHONE IS A MOBILE MAC!!!!" - right!

    That's why the updates are so buggy, costs the earth, catches fire, support is in a total state of denial and has the Apple battery tax (because if you have one you are too stupid to be allowed to change it).

    It's shit.

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Still waiting ...

    I'll be ready to buy when the iPhone comes to Lebara!

  57. Robert Hill

    @Andy 115

    Er, so I was off by what, £60, or about 12%? I'll take that for an off-the-cuff ("I would expect" was my verbage) estimate.

    The reason they are probably less expensive in Hong Kong is because of the massive influx of iPhone copies that are flooding China these days - all direct violations of Apple patents and copywrites, and none of them enforced. To compete, Apple probably feels the need to undercut their own pricing...

    My pricing was an estimate based upon what I had heard they went for in Austrailia and the few EU countries that forced them to be unlocked...

    Be that as it may, you and I are both consistent in that the price WILL be rather larger than what O2 provides them for with a contract, i.e., free to <£100 depending upon model and plan.

  58. Sean Timarco Baggaley

    iPhone batteries...

    ... *are* replaceable. They're just not *easily* replaceable. The 3GS' battery isn't even soldered to the motherboard any more: it's just a small plug.

    The reason you can't just whip off the back of the phone and plug a new battery in is precisely the same reason why the iPhone is so thin. You can't have it both ways. (No. Seriously. Go look up "Lithium-Polymer" on effing Google.) You can replace it yourself if you really want to, but Apple will do it for you for about the same price as buying a new battery for most other mobile phones anyway.

    If you just want a power source to keep the iPhone's charge up during a heavy bout of phoning (or web browsing), you can easily buy a combined iPhone case and external 'booster' battery for it. Like one of these:

    (I found out all this basic information in mere seconds, using a website called "Google"! Who knew that site could be so useful?)


    And no, I don't own an iPhone. My Nokia 2630 does everything I need from a mobile: make and receive phone calls. For everything else, there's MasterCa^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H my laptop.

  59. David Love

    @Voda iPhone + Femto?

    Been there, done that - in W London too. Works a treat.

  60. Ascylto
    Jobs Halo

    Oh no!

    The next thing is the Unemployed will have iPhones (that they've not stolen) just like the RAZR!

    THEN I'll have to change. The style 'thing' will just be TOO much!.

  61. CitizenErazed


    The iPhone 3GS is 12.5mm thick, give or take. The Palm Pixi, on comparison, is 10.55mm. And that has a removable battery. The Samsung Tocco Ultra is 12.7mm, and that incorporates a physical slider keyboard. So no, the size of the phone has nothing to do with the battery being replaceable.

    I used the same research material you did, good sir.

  62. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    Funny thing is, the iPhone is about all Apple are selling. Still down in that sub 5% OS coverage.

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