O2 closes in on exclusive deal to sell iPhone in UK

O2 is on the verge of wrapping up a deal to exclusively sell the Apple iPhone in the UK with a view to launching the iPod-based handset by Christmas.

A number of Europe's largest operators have been linked with a deal to sell the iPhone in Europe over recent weeks. It is understood that formal deals are now imminent and that O2 is about to sign a contract to sell the handset in the UK. It is understood that T-Mobile, Germany's largest operator, will sell the iPhone exclusively in Germany, while Orange, France's largest mobile phone company, has won the race to sell the handset in France. The iPhone is due to launch across those territories in November.

There has yet to be official confirmation of any deals and a spokesman for the UK's largest mobile operator said: "O2 has not signed a deal with Apple." None of the mobile phone operators would comment on the process given the complexity of negotiations with Apple.

Competition among mobile phone operators for a deal with Apple has been fierce, with the iPod maker understood to have driven a hard bargain. One source said that securing the most talked about handset of all time on an exclusive basis and making the economics work had proved a tough balancing act.

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I dislike Apple as much as the next man, but I have to hand it to them... they do know how to market their products and make them seem "cool".

I saw the HTC Touch phone in our local store (in chennai, India)!! which is pretty great compared to iPhone with extended features like video recording, mp3 ringtone & esp its win mobile OS that allow lot of apps to be installed.

Many people where learing about iPhone now..but when they (& me too) saw HTC phone, we were really amazed. So it is just around Us $ 450 (Converted the rate). ( + no contracts or a pre defined operator!)

Anyhow iPhone is cool too...

I'm happy its O2 Vodafone are the worst operator of the lot in the UK IMHO. Also they heavily brand all their phones in firmware and on the phone itself, Orange come a closed second.

Apple doesn't allow branding of the iPhone if I remember correctly, so that point about Vodafone and Orange is irrelevant. In fact I think I remember reading that they dont allow operator modifications of any kind.

I use O2 Pas you go since all my family are on it.

If Iphone can offer a decent contract or cheaper model then it may tempt me a little more.

bucko said,
I use O2 Pas you go since all my family are on it.

If Iphone can offer a decent contract or cheaper model then it may tempt me a little more.

did the same until 3 gave me 500 free minutes for 15pounds a month ...

This does raise an interesting question. Why would Apple sign with a company who cannot service the iPhone's data connections? O2 have no EDGE support in the UK; they have GPRS and 3G. Free WiFi is virtually unknown except for the people who don't know how to lockdown their home routers; so why would Apple sign to a provider where part of the phones capability is crippled?

This *could* indicate some hardware changes for the EU version, such as 3G.

There's also the fact that the UK mobile market is crazy on MMS messaging, IM messaging, and video recording. The three top features the phone doesn't support.

Either changes happen to the iPhone before UK launch, or they're going to have a hard time matching US sales.

Good. I left 02 a while back because of there ridiculously expensive data transfer rates. There was no point getting an n95 if I was limited to 3mb a month! :rolleyes:

So I switched to t-mobile, got web and walk and an 18 month contract with a chance to upgrade my handset in 6 months if I want.

Kicks ass.

They don't really NEED to strike exclusivity deals in Europe. And if there's no 3G support, I dont know what the point is. I believe the iphone is really expensive and if apple doesnt get a deal with an operator nobody would buy them over the actual cost price


Next thing we know, european iphones will also have an activation process we'll be charged for. I bet they'll charge europeans for something we were never charged before.

One day, Apple's arrogance will be the end of them. It cost Sony dearly, but at least when you fork out £400 for their system, you actually get top of the range hardware. The iPhone would have been a good phone maybe 3 years ago, but for that price I can get the latest and greatest technology twice over.
The European Phone market is years ahead of the US. Apple might get away with a lacklustre phone there, but I doubt they'll get away with it here.

Right now, Apples "arrogance" is churning out the most desirable products in the industry.

If you WANT them to fail because you have some moral compunction with what they're doing, please let us know so we can ignore you in the future.

LTD said,
Right now, Apples "arrogance" is churning out the most desirable products in the industry.

If you WANT them to fail because you have some moral compunction with what they're doing, please let us know so we can ignore you in the future.

Did I say that I WANTED them to fail? No, I just pointed out that Apple is incredibly arrogant, arrogant enough to charge people ridiculous amounts of money for a lacklustre phone (not to mention the additional "services" and battery changes), arrogant enough to have most of Europe's Phone companies out rightly say that their demands are wholly unreasonable, arrogant enough to not even bother developing a proper SDK for the thing.

I'm sorry if you can't face that fact, but it's the truth - Apple is milking everyone who buys or licenses their products for as much as they can. They don't care about you, they don't care about offering the best product possible, they just care about making as much money as possible and are more than happy to let their legions of fanboys and misinformed "geeks" give it to them.

I mean tell me, what makes the iPhone so special, apart from the Apple logo?

Kushan said,
I'm sorry if you can't face that fact, but it's the truth - Apple is milking everyone who buys or licenses their products for as much as they can. They don't care about you, they don't care about offering the best product possible, they just care about making as much money as possible and are more than happy to let their legions of fanboys and misinformed "geeks" give it to them.

Please name a for profit company that ISN'T out to make as much money as possible. The law of the land is make the most amount of money with the least amount of work.

draklin said,

Please name a for profit company that ISN'T out to make as much money as possible. The law of the land is make the most amount of money with the least amount of work.

Virgin Enough Said

Fubar said,
Virgin Enough Said

Bwahaha! So it was in their customers' best interests that they sacked half of the UK-based technical support agents, outsourced it to India, cut channels, started capping broadband, and raised prices? It had nothing to do with saving money, eh?

Lt-DavidW said,

Bwahaha! So it was in their customers' best interests that they sacked half of the UK-based technical support agents, outsourced it to India, cut channels, started capping broadband, and raised prices? It had nothing to do with saving money, eh?


that was before virgin media took over if you do your research and im talking about Virgin NOT virgin media

Fubar said,


that was before virgin media took over if you do your research and im talking about Virgin NOT virgin media


fair enough, my apologies

Can you just not just buy the phone sim free? I mean, I already have an O2 contract. If I wanted to get the iPhone, why would I want to buy another? OK, they may give me an upgrade option.

But for people who haven't got O2 contracts, why can't they just buy the phone sim free? Why does it have to be sold with a contract?

I think they'd get a lot more sales this way...

Zoom7000 said,
Can you just not just buy the phone sim free? I mean, I already have an O2 contract. If I wanted to get the iPhone, why would I want to buy another? OK, they may give me an upgrade option.

But for people who haven't got O2 contracts, why can't they just buy the phone sim free? Why does it have to be sold with a contract?

I think they'd get a lot more sales this way...

Likely you can, if you go shell out another contract renewal and pay to get the hardware upgrade (HUP), as if you havn't been with them for at least 5 years your HUP term is liklely the length of your contract. Least how it is in Canada. With Rogers I qualify for a HUP Every 18 months if I resign a 36 month contract... But if they discount the iPhone is yet to be disclosed. Apple has always been big on huge retail pricing with no drop for quite some time.

Providers may offer an iPhone package for $100 a month or something, gives you the iPhone, data and voice pack all in one 'reasonably' priced bill (yeah, right)

lunamonkey said,
They'll offset the cost with the contract tho. It'll be "free" on some packages.

Who pays for phones in the UK these days?


Did you not read "The handset is likely to cost around £400 on top of signing a long-term contract with the mobile operator, as it will not be subsidised as is standard in the UK market."

I believe it will not be "fully" subsidized. If it isn't subsidized at all I fail to see why apple wouldn't sell the damn phones unlocked

lunamonkey said,
They'll offset the cost with the contract tho. It'll be "free" on some packages.

Who pays for phones in the UK these days?

I doubt it, I'm sure the US have contracts where you get free phones, but not in the case of the iPhone. In the US you choose your tariff in iTunes, and no doubt Apple will have it the same way in the UK, so you'll have paid full price for the ridiculous thing before you've even chosen a contract of any price.

dissonation said,
Did you not read "The handset is likely to cost around £400 on top of signing a long-term contract with the mobile operator, as it will not be subsidised as is standard in the UK market."

"likely"...

Someone will, within a month, have it cheap on a (hign end) contract deal. It will end up costing the customer the same in the long run, but there will be ways of getting it on Pay Monthly.

..or I'll eat an iPhone

i think 02 has the best signal in england compared to other operators and is quite big so the iphone should goto 02. But i agree with Lt-David the iphone wont sell very well here. Ppl are text crazy sending pictures and recording funny vids on there phones to send to other ppl and seeing as the iphone cant do those things ppl will just laugh tell the ppl who try sell it to them to go f**k themselves (we are so polite in england :wink:) and get someat that can actually do things with.

If ppl do choose the iphone you can guarantee it will be returned within a cpl weeks with lots of complaints that its a big pile of crap basically. Think im gonna go with one of the new nokia Nx series of phones, cus my sis has the N73 or 75 whatever it is and the picture+recording quality on it is amazing. Id prolly get the N95 or whatever.

As i said earlier, O2's signal strength in all of Oxfordshire is terrible, don't assume somethings the best in the country just because it's good in your tiny area of observation.

I have a feeling that the iPhone will be a flop in the UK.

Brand-loyalty is not so strong here, even seen as geeky, and current mobile phone manufacturers already have competing phones on the market at half the price of the iPhone.

IMO, it will only appeal to a select few people.

They really should go with Orange

How could they miss the marketing opportunity they get from the "Apple and Orange" partnership? :cool:

*grin*

So it seems the biggest operator in the region gets the distrubution rights to the iPhone? could be very bad news for Aussies (providing Australia is getting the iPhone at all...) as Telstra is our biggest operator and imagine how much Telstra will charge for it! *gulp* I don't even want to think about it....

Samboini said,
So don't buy one?

I don't intend to. I was just stating that (as usual) we Aussies will get royally ripped off (again)

Xerxes said,

I don't intend to. I was just stating that (as usual) we Aussies will get royally ripped off (again)

If it makes you feel any better, EVERYONE that buys this phone is getting royally ripped off.

Locking it like this sucks, I thought they were intending to sell them from apple stores, contract free.

O2 really sucks where I live (Oxfordshire) the coverage is appalling, nearly as bad as Orange, compared to full signal practically everywhere with Vodaphone.

I'm not after an iPhone, but removing this choice from the consumer really blows

If they don't sign an exclusive contract, Apple can't justify leeching money off your contract. I guess it's like a product red phone, except the money goes to Steve and not Bono.

our company has been on each of those networks and vodaphone seems to have the best coverage in the UK, we are with t-mobile now and service is fairly poor.

Surprisingly O2 IMHO.
Orange is the biggest operator in France.
T-Mobile is the biggest operator in Germany.
O2 is not the biggest operator in the UK... I would have thought they would have chosen Vodafone or Orange, both of which are 'bigger' than O2.

Top two networks in the UK are technically O2, followed by T-Mobile (most people dont realise that T-Mobile also plays host to numerous Virtual operators, like Virgin, and use thier infrastructure though I guess that doesnt play in here) Vodafone has 16/17m subscribers, T-mobile has 19m and O2 has 24m...

Noooooooooooooo! O2 is one of two networks that has rubbish signal where I am (T-Mobile is the other). I was kinda hoping for Vodafone or Orange, but I guess Orange has their SPV range of smartphones so wouldn't want to compete with their own product lineup.

02 has the XDA range so I'm not sure that's a a big uissue. It would be a coup for any of the networks to get the iphone.

Well obviously, if you so much as go near the firmware the screen will fall off. In the interest of security, of course.

I might be wrong on this, but it might help that O2 are one of the least re-brand heavy of the UK providers. I know Apple would want there phone unsullied by nasty orange/pink/red icons.

Interesting. I think when the ipod was announced there were already rumors that it'd be O2 the one to sell the iphone. I think O2 is owned by telefonica, but orange also operates in spain... so I wonder which company will sell it in spain. I'd say telefonica, since it's the biggest mobile operator in spain.