Last week, we heard that Apple was in negotiations with T-Mobile and Orange about selling iPhones. Not the new iPhone 3G S you understand. Rather it was the iPhone 3G that they were after.
Now it seems that that might have been a miss-steer. At least that’s if a report from yesterday’s Sunday Telegraph is anything to go by. The way they tell it, it seems that T-Mobile is actually scouring Europe to source contract-free iPhones.
Naturally, were this the case it’s unlikely to appease Apple, who’ve been notoriously protectionist about how and where their products are sold. We await the next development with interest…
UPDATE 1 05/07/09
…And we didn’t have to wait long, did we? This very morning Cnet reports that the chief executive of AT&T, the iPhone 3G S carrier in the US, has put a rocket under rumours that O2’s exclusivity deals for Apple’s handsets aren’t long for this world.
Addressing a crowd at the Brainstorm:Tech expo, Randall Stephenson told the crowd that there will be a day when [AT&T] are not exclusive with the iPhone”. So, as far as one of the mobile phone industry’s largest players is concerned at least, the appearance of phones on other networks is not a matter of if so much as when.
We’ll keep you posted when we hear more…
UPDATE 2 07/07/09
It’s official, or at least semi-official: T-Mobile is apparently selling iPhone 3G mobile phones. According to everyone’s favourite tech iconoclasts at the Register, the last-gen iPhones are currently being offered to “high spenders who threaten to leave” the network as bait for staying.
But before you rush to lodge a call with a T-Mobile operative, know this: Apparently just 150 week are being given out to customers who spend more than £75 per month and who are umm-ing and ahh-ing about taking their custom elsewhere.
O2, the iPhone’s exclusive UK carrier, has yet to respond to the news. But we don’t anticipate that T-Mobile encroaching in their backyard will make them best pleased…
UPDATE 3 14/08/09
Speculation is mounting that T-Mobile and Orange’s mooted merger could spell the end of O2’s UK iPhone exclusivity deal, in the latest twist in the battle for the rights to sell Apple’s all-conquering mobile phone.
Yesterday, it emerged that the two companies are in exclusive talks about a merger. Should the mooted deal go through, it would result in the creation of the UK’s largest mobile company with a 37 per cent share of the market.
The way Orange CEO Tom Alexander sees it, the sheer size of the new joint venture would give it massive bargaining power and enable it to secure the best handsets around. Naturally, it doesn’t take a genius to work out that that definition includes the iPhone 3G S and any future iPhone updates.
Watch this space for more news as and when we have it.
UPDATE 4 28/09/09
The period of rumour and counter rumour is over. Orange has today confirmed it is to begin offering the iPhone and iPhone 3G S before the year is out, bringing to an end O2’s exclusivity agreement with Apple.
Price points aren’t confirmed yet. But, just like you, we’re hopeful that the injection of some healthy competition into the iPhone market will prompt a hefty price reduction as O2 and Orange trade blows to secure consumers’ custom…
The eagle-eyed among will notice that there’s been no such announcement Vodafone which has also expressed an interest in carrying the iPhone. But we’ve got it on good authority that we’ll be hearing something imminently…
UPDATE 5 29/09/09
And lo it came to pass. Vodafone has joined Orange in the iPhone gold rush and has confirmed it will begin offering the 3G S for sale as of January 2010. So with a mooted merger meaning that T-Mobile is likely to come under the Orange banner, that just leaves Virgin Media as the only major UK carrier not selling Apple mobile phones.
How long will that last, though? As, ever stay tuned for more gen as and when...