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back to article iPhone makes eyes at T-Mobile and Orange

The days of O2's exclusive hold on the iPhone are probably numbered - T-Mobile has told us it's in talks with Apple about ranging the iPhone 3G in the next few months. The deals being discussed only include the iPhone 3G, and O2's exclusive on the 3GS seems to be secure. But even this represents a major shift in how Apple …

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I would have thought...

...by now, anyone that wanted an iPhone would have bought an iPhone, even if it was on O2!

The fanboys will always be upgrading and wanting the latest incarnation of their religious icon, so they will stick with the 3GS and O2's exclusivity.

Which will just leave the old models being pushed by T-Mob and Orange, to people who really probably aren't that interested.

Standby for the T-Mob and Orange marketing to go on a iPhone frenzy to a customer base that just really aren't that interested.

Which is a pity, as there are plenty of other good phones out there which they could be concentrating their efforts on actually releasing... Like the N97 for starters... Orange are you listening!

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Stop

Oh No!!!

Please not Orange....They are not worth the Apple Products. When you talk about Apple, the first thing that comes to mind is design and quality. Orange represents none of those...

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Yeah that's me

I couldn't care less about O2 either, in fact the sooner I can get my iPhone on a network with decent 3G speeds the better. It's no wonder O2 are charging a fortune for the 3GS...

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Hmmm....

So if O2 buy T-mobile, Monopoly is restored?

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FAIL

@Sachin

Quality? Are you serious? Apple products (certainly their audio and phone products) are dire in both quality quality and audio quality.

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What about the lock??

If O2 loses monopoly on the 3G, will existing owners be able to jump networks?

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Anonymous Coward

Oh come on...

The only way i'm getting an iPhone is if it's available on three... how hard can it be?!

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Flame

@Sachin

The first thing that comes to my mind at the moment is overpriced and overheating!

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Heart

Marketing Wizardry or Hardware Genius?

"Customers don't consider themselves to be using Orange, T-Mobile or O2 any more, they're Apple's customers regardless of who happens to be carrying the signal... which is just how Cupertino would like it."

I hadn't thought about it in those terms before now, but you're bang on right. The carrier is pretty much irrelevant with the iphone, at least in my mind, and obviously in others too. I jailbroke mine straight away, and it's now happily living in Vodafone land. But is there the same feeling for other phone manufacturers? I don't think so, and that's weird, no?

Apple obviously don't just have high flying marketing graduates in their PR dept, they have Wizards (And Witches - who I'm sure get paid slightly less?).

I paid thru the nose for the interface, the app's, and the general day to day lovelyness of using it. VS my Windows Mobile Xperia X1, the iphone shits upon it from such a great height that we'd need to invent new telescopes to see Jobs i(LoveYou)Phone floating several billion light-years from earth.

Can we have a half and half devil/angel icon for Jobs, for those that aren't quite sure if he's good or evil, but like most people, somewhere in between?

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Coat

Well it must be up to me

To point out the silly statement about oranges and apples - together at last

Ok ok I'm leaving now

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O2 and Privacy

Those of you who have an iPhone might want to check the terms of your contract to make sure they are not the same as the O2 Mobile Broadband contract. Specifically look for something like this:

"15.1 You authorise us to use and disclose, in the UK and abroad, information about you, your use of the Services (including, but not limited to, phone numbers/email addresses of calls, texts and other communications "Communications" made and received by you and the date, duration, time and cost of such Communications), how you conduct your account and the locations of your Mobile Phone for the purposes of operating your account and providing you with the Service or as required under law to our associated companies or agents, any telecommunications company, debt collection agency or credit reference agency. You agree that the information may be used by other parties in assessing applications for credit from you and members of your household and for debt tracing, credit management and may be used by us or other parties for crime and fraud detection and prevention."

"15.2 You also agree to the information described in clause 15.1 being used, analysed and assessed by us, and the other parties identified in clause 15.1 and selected third parties for marketing purposes including amongst other things to identify and offer you by phone, post, the Network, your Mobile Phone, email, text (SMS), media messaging, automated dialling equipment or other means, any further products, services and offers which we think might interest."

Which is taken from O2's Mobile Broadband Terms and Conditions...

I expect they have similar clauses in the iPhone contract and if so, in essence, all your base are belong to O2...

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Coat

Apples and Oranges

If the iPhone appears on Orange will they want to brand it with their logos and UI 'enhancements'? Or will they just change the apple on the back for an orange?

Mine's the one that looks like a Jobsian black polo-neck - thanks.

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WTF?

Orange Firmware

I dont know how Orange would cope without being able to butcher a phones firmware with its bloatware! I have recently got the Omnia HD through an Orange upgrade and some of the Orange specific widgets and apps etc are ridiculous - example - the new email and text notification always shows the time as being an hour behind.

Still - the phone itself is very very good and much like the comment above about the N97 - Orange doesnt market the handsets - all we get are those stupid adverts at the cinema.

I would get an iPhone if it came to Orange...

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Free market

The government should sort out mobile tie-ins once and for all:

Every operator should be obliged to allow their phones to be unlocked for no more than a modest admin fee (£10?) after any contract is finished.

Every operator should also be obliged to sell every phone operator unlocked, without any contract at a price no higher than the total cost of what a 12 month contract + phone + £10 unlock fee would be.

That way we will see the true price of phones being charged, and hopefully less waste. O2 (or anyone else) can still seek an "exclusive" which they can use to encourage customers to decide on contracts with them (and set their tarriffs accordingly with incentives for longer contracts etc.), but it should be a free market.

Job done. Then the operators which have the best service will prevail and the crap ones will fail. Exactly as it should be.

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Grenade

Competition Commission

Where the hell has the Competition Commission been for the last few years! Surely this is a case of a monopoly that is causing distortions in the marketplace and must be against the public good.

Oh right! It is Apple so nothing bad can be going on here...

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O2 are ok

I don't know what you whiners are belly aching about. You're probably not iPhone users or O2 customers. I've got an iPhone, so has my wife, my brother, and a bunch of people I know from work circles. To a person they're happy with both the phone and O2. Their coverage is good, and both of our bills dropped considerably after moving over from orange. The other carriers are welcome to join in as competition is always a good thing. We'll be sticking with O2 though thanks.

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voda o2

o2 have just signed a contract to share all of the vodafone 3G network. So I'd like to see any other network match their coverage when it all goes through!!!!

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FAIL

@MarkOne, AC 15:50

Yaddah yaddah yaddah. You could at least be original and slag something else about it off. Come to think of it I'm fairly sure that the sound quality myth has been debunked on these very pages, as have the 'overpriced' rhetoric. I'm sure your N9xHTCAndroidmobilecamerampl3playersuperduperpenisextentionphone is much better though. Fuck me, you lot are dull.

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It' all about price

I don't care which network it's on - until they reduce the price dramatically, Apple can poke it!

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Joke

Orange?

I'm sorry, I pointed my browser to http://www.theregister.com, not http://www.theregister.co.uk. Why am I having to read about this pointless Limey cell carrier nonsense?

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WTF?

re: wanting an iPhone

i would get an iphone if i could get it for free as an upgrade on my current contract...

and not have to use iTunes

Im with vodafone, and am not going to move networks for a phone. Especially when i can get such good deals/phones by threatening to leave.

Off topic:

Yes, the UK's 3G networks would be described as "patchy"* but most of the sites I view while on the move have slimmed down mobile versions that work fine over 2G. (facebook, bbc news)

el reg's "mobile" version just links to full articles... >600k for a short "mobile" article (not including flash) = someone not getting thier act together

*where some friends of mine live in a city of over a million people, the situation is such that their phones would tell them they had full signal... whouthout being connectd to the network at all. They were effectivley whithout mobile connectivity until they turned 3g *off* on their phones. All of a sudden everything worked. Aprart from, you know, the phones of anyone who visitied.

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its only a phone....

I like my iPhone. I do not like 02. they are there to provide a service and its works sometimes.

I have had windows mobile over the years and when i am not having to reset it due to locking up. it was very slow.

to be honest I am not that bothered about it been on any one network. but I do feel when i get to the end of my 18 months I should be allowed to unlock it for any network, as I will have paid the price 02 wanted to stay with them for the 18 months. I did not sign up for a life time contract with 02.

its costing me £864 for the 18 months as i pay around £48 every month. at the end of it the phone is mine, no one elses. but then they say you cannot leave us and if you do it becomes a very dear ipod touch....

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All phones should be sold unlocked

In South Africa, all phones are sold SIM free by law. So you pop into an Apple store and buy (not cheap though) a bog standard, unbroken iPhone which works perfectly on any network, anywhere. Other countries have similar arrangements.

Now that smartphones have morphed into little computers, isn't it about time we separated hardware from comms? Would you buy a netbook locked to BT?

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@Macka

I have an i-phone and yes, O2 coverage is shit. I live in central London right next to the big open space that is the Thames (ironically not far from the Offcom offices) and I struggle to get 2G coverage in my apartment, never mind 3G.

I predicted that O2 would lose exclusivity several weeks ago when it was announced that the Palm Pre was most likely to be exclusive to O2. There's no way that Apple would allow their 'chosen one' to flirt with their biggest competitor unless there were already plans afoot to open up distribution to other carriers. I suspect that the O2 exclusive distribution contract expires soon and O2 are looking to get their hands on the next big thing.

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FAIL

'kin NuSpeak

Enough with the marketing speak, already.

I believe the verb you are looking for is "sell"

Tesco's does not range Andrex

Sainsburys' does not range oranges.

Let's try to get all of our ducks in a row moving forward.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: voda o2

Not quite, more of an agreement to share air-conditioning units, painted to look like a network-sharing deal:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/03/24/vodafone_o2_fud/

But 3 and T-Mobile are getting it together, slowly.

Bill.

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FAIL

Your correspondent – my Arse!

"...Several years ago your correspondent wrote a piece claiming the iPhone would fail..."

YOU GOT IT COMPLETELY WRONG despite going on to try to obfuscate the rationale.

A more grovelling apology would be in order.

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Oooooooooo2!

I have an iPhone 3G having previously owned an iPhone.

Unsurprisingly I am with o2 where I get perfectly adequate coverage and speeds (I'm not a business user) and my home broadband for £7 monthly (I'm on a £35 a month contract).

I used to be with Orange when their Customer Service was good (remember those times?). I now get excellent UK-based Customer Service from o2. I can't speak highly enough of it. The Customer Service is worth at least £5 of the contract price.

Having said that, I think o2 spoiled us with their last upgrade offer and I won't upgrade to a 3GS until my contract expires and the prices come down. Nonetheless, I can't think of a reason, service-wise, to leave o2.

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WTF?

crApple

Chuckled when you said that quality is one of the things that Apple represents...

To me it's more like mindless hype, controlling big-brother-esque mentality and cheap low quality products which are overpriced to monetise on the aforementioned.

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FAIL

@vamie 26

I guess you're not referring to 3G coverage?

Only last week was this (http://www.ofcom.org.uk/radiocomms/ifi/licensing/classes/broadband/cellular/3g/maps/3gmaps/coverage_maps.pdf) published with O2 and Voda being the bottom two providers of 3G in the UK. Crap + Crap still equals Crap

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FAIL

@Futumnsh

Palm as Apple's "biggest competitor"? Huh? What a load of total ar*se. You've got to be 'Merkin, right?

That'll be the same Palm whose handset sales fell 60% year on year and which lost $750m in the last year. Even if sales of the Pre are astoundingly huge (i.e. >1m this year), they'll be a rounding error vs. sales of the companies actually competing in this market.

Apple's biggest competitor? Jeez....

Chances are we'll see Palm starring on "www.F*ckedcompany.com"...again.

And no, I don't own or use a single piece of Apple kit...

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Jobs Horns

@Mac Phreak

You really shouldn't be describing other people as dull when your screen name is "Mac Phreak"

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Jobs Halo

**** da operators

It doesn't seem so long when certain operators were going to abandon Nokia for daring to try and put it's own music service on it's phones. Well as Bill points out just look at what Apple have done in this area.

By chance? I don't think so...they'd already done it with iTunes and their iPod; now they just had to sucker the operators in to allowing them to operate the same model but just over the operators airwaves.

Those ofcom golfing partners are going to wake up and smell the coffee too late, just like the music industry. The operators have been well and truly shafted; reduced to their greatest fear, to no more than a carrier. lol@operators.

Cheers Bill great article.

I wonder if in the future carriers will still be able sell value add services such as music, email, apps under their own brands but just on lower end handsets? Or whether they will simply become BT but smaller. BT but smaller me thinks.

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Unhappy

Here's hoping...

...that this means that you can finally purchase an iPhone on contract without O2's pitiful contract offerings. Anything that offers less than 500 free texts on the lowest plan is pretty ridiculous nowadays, when most other networks are happy to offer you unlimited free texting on similarly priced plans.

Yes, it's for the Jesus phone specifically, but whilst I would love to get an iPhone on contract, the price plans are the only thing that's putting me off converting back to O2 this September when my T-Mobile contract is up.

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