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back to article T-Mobile UK starts shifting iPhones on the quiet

T-Mobile UK has started supplying iPhone 3G handsets to selected customers, while O2 UK continues to believe it has a UK exclusive on Apple's last-generation handset. Apple's 3G handset won't be available to just any T-Mobile customer - only high spenders who threaten to leave need apply, and only 150 of those a week will be …

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Funny that..

I was in a T-Mobile shop on Saturday and they told me that they are definitely not getting the Iphone, there where talks of the 3G coming but unfortunately no.

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Good

May O2s monopoly be smashed.

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Jobs Horns

Do T-Mobile charge extra for tethering?

Something you would expect to get along with your data plan, O2 will charge you more for. Only on the iPhone.

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Alert

UK iPhone TV ad hint

Since July 17th at least, UK iPhone ads don't show 'O2' in the menu bar of the iPhone.

Maybe these ads are designed to be shown after the exclusivity deal runs out.

@alex4d

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Anonymous Coward

Hmm...

...is this legal?

Given that the UK and EU courts actively support trade restriction, price fixing* and other activities against free trade; will this be allowed to continue? Won't Apple simply take them to court and win?

*DVD Regions, CD imports, Levi's jeans...it's a pretty long list

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Alert

Having worked at T-Mobile...

...it's difficult to see where they could have cut back on the canteen. The food was beyond bland already.

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FAIL

Re: Hmm...

You do realise that in all your examples, it involves importing from outside the EU while T-Mobile here are sourcing from WITHIN the EU?

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wanks & tossers

phuck apple and phuck the iphone. everyone in my place of business was recently required to upgrade to a phone with a data plan (with a company kickback of course). All the sheeple jumped on the iphone, The uber geeks got a sidekick or a pre. Why? 'cause they aren't iphones..

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Jobs Halo

Exclusive

I've recently noticed that the iPhone ads on TV sometimes don't have the previously seen "Only on O2" banner at the end of them.

Is this Apple giving an indication of future deals?

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Thumb Down

re: Hmm...

Well how about those Pubs who legally purchased Sky for the footie from a Greek network and Sky were able to take them to court to stop them from saving hundreds of pounds a year.

Isn't that a source from within the EU?

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Megaphone

£75 per month?

How the hell do you run up a mobile bill of £75+ per month, given there are numerous options out there with unlimited everything for about £35/month? Surely one of those deals plus a grey market unlocked handset represents a better deal if you really must have a shiny toy?

Mine's the one with the practical and functional PAYG Nokia 3210 in the pocket.

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Megaphone

Hmmm

These are not trademark infringements, as they are sourced legitimately within the EI. They could be classed as grey imports. The problem for vodafone now is, now people on higher tariffs are all going to threaten to leave in order to get a Jesus telephone and the additional kudos as being seen to have been exclusively be-gifted it by T-mobile.

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Anonymous Coward

@Richard 81

O2 don't have a monopoly. They have an exclusive deal with Apple to be the sole provider of the iPhone. Can everybody just stop using the term monopoly until it's understood what one is! For those that are interested; http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/8/61/2376087.pdf . I accept that this may not be the definitive description for everybody, but it's a darn site better than some of the crap I've seen posted here and elsewhere on teh interwebs, and would in all likelihood be one of the descriptions referred to legally. Thanks!

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Megaphone

@J Ford

Actually, it's not too hard, thanks to international calls and roaming. I was working on one consultancy project a couple of years ago and my monthly bill (not paid by me, though) was ~£200. I know people whose bills are ~£800 but that's just silly.

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Gold badge

Unlocked probably

O2 have a deal to supply locked handsets on contract to customers. But nothing is stopping anyone else supplying them unsubsidised and unlocked to their best customers.

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Grenade

iPhone updates?

It's easy to provide unlocked iPhones, but what about keeping the phones unlocked?

Apple has a habit of releasing patches which 'brick' the phone. How would T-Mobile support its high-spend customer then?

The customer isn't going to be too pleased at having to wait for T-Mobile to release a patch. Remember how long it took teams of dedicated hackers to unlock the iPhone on the change from software version 1 to 2?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: iPhone updates

The iPhones will probably have coding or else IDed by IMEI that indicates they were destined for countries that ban SIM locking so the firmware that is installed will lack the SIMlocking code.

Simples

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About Time

It's about time one of the other telcos broke O2's overpriced iPhone monopoly and offered UK consumers a real choice (pity it's not the 3Gs).

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Badgers

Big Spenders...

Funny, I spoke to retentions yesterday to try and get my HTC Athena/TMob Ameo with a HTC Diamond2/CompactV and they couldn't do any good deals at all. It would actually be cheaper for me to get a jPhone on O2 PAYG and buy top-ups over the 18 months than it was for any TMob direct contact. Even the HeroG2 chinnymabob worked out to be more expensive than a contract jPhone!

Then I found another supplier that could do a deal on a Diamond2 with Tmobz, so all is well.

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Anonymous Coward

Pity...

Pity Orange won't do this with the N97 they were supposed to be selling... It's appeared on the website as "coming soon", for a week, then vanished again, and the upgrade line people don't know when they will sell it, or if they will sell it at all. They blame a high failure rate on batches, which can only mean one thing... Orange have screwed the the firmware again! (Either that, or Vodafone are suffering a lot of support calls!).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Re: iPhone updates

<<The iPhones will probably have coding or else IDed by IMEI that indicates they were destined for countries that ban SIM locking so the firmware that is installed will lack the SIMlocking code.>>

Which countries are these? I only know about Finland - and I have no friends going to visit that country...

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Big Brother

Monopoly

A monopoly exists when there is exclusive control by one group of the means of selling or providing a commodity.

By that definition, O2 have a monopoly in the UK as there is no other way of officially buying an iPhone without an O2 contract (establishing exclusive control).

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Badgers

Re: Re: iPhone updates

<<The iPhones will probably have coding or else IDed by IMEI that indicates they were destined for countries that ban SIM locking so the firmware that is installed will lack the SIMlocking code.>>

"Which countries are these? I only know about Finland - and I have no friends going to visit that country..."

I might be wrong but isnt France in a similar situation?

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Re Anonymous Coward 4th August 09:59

France for a second

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Germany

Isn't it more likely these are just german iPhones, as this is where T-Mobile are authorised to sell them?

In which case it doesn't matter whether they're locked or not, it's a T-Mobile phone so will work with the T-Mobile SIM. They also say that it's a "fully-supported device" - does that mean these users also get Visual Voicemail?

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Sorry, but...

...what's an iPhone?

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Stop

@rattcatcher

" monopoly exists when there is exclusive control by one group of the means of selling or providing a commodity.

By that definition, O2 have a monopoly in the UK as there is no other way of officially buying an iPhone without an O2 contract (establishing exclusive control)."

Yes. Fortunately, that is not the legal definition of a monopoly. The only place I can buy a Dell from is Dell! They have a monopoly!

According to gartner (http://www.gartner.com/it/page.jsp?id=985912) Apple has 5.3% of the global smart phone market. That is not, by any stretch, a monopoly. When that hits 70+% we can talk.

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FAIL

good luck

getting a reception of course, im currently sat in the a garden centre for work and have sod all signal on my t-mobile phone while my o2 is perfect. so im doing all my work calls on my personal mob

thanks t-mob you fail!

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WTF?

Oh yes we can

@King Edward I

You missed the point.

The iPhone is the commodity and O2 are the group that have exclusive control over it's sale in the UK.

If I want to own an iPhone in the UK without signing an O2 contract (monthly or PAYG), I would have to import one myself from territories like Italy or Hong Kong where it's available unlocked & contract free.

Your comparison with Dell is invalid as they manufacture hardware which isn't unique and use an OS which also isn't unique. We can buy this hardware / software combination from any number of vendors which makes the PC non-exclusive (not to mention the fact I can walk into my local branch of PC World and buy a Dell PC).

An iPhone is unique, as even though other smart phones (with very similar features) are readily available from different vendors, only one company (Apple) manufactures the specific iPhone hardware / software combination (making it an commodity) and only one UK telco (O2) controls it's sale (giving it exclusive control).

That, to all intents and purposes, is a monopoly.

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@ rattcatcher

That's not how monopolies that may be judged anti-competitive work. Coca-Cola aren't anti-competitive because they're fixing the market price for coca-cola by agreeing with themselves on what they should charge.

I appreciate it's quite a subtle thing for computer science minds to comprehend, but decisions on what constitutes a market for the purposes of competition law is a pragmatic decision made on the facts by a court. There isn't an algorithm for it.

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Flame

...There isn't an algorithm for it...

well there bloddy should be!

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