Rory Cellan-Jones

Who wins from an Orange iPhone?

  • Rory Cellan-Jones
  • 28 Sep 09, 12:15 GMT

So a mobile phone network is getting a new phone - or rather a phone that's already been available elsewhere for a couple of years. No big deal, eh? Well, think again. When the news broke this morning that O2 was losing its exclusive contract to sell Apple's iPhone, and that Orange would be selling the phone in the run-up to Christmas, there was huge interest.

Screengrab of most popular stories on BBC News siteIt went straight to the top of the list of most-read news stories on our site and social networks were buzzing with the news. Clever old Apple - the whole marketing strategy around the iPhone has been masterful, and now it's scored another winner.

By keeping the phone exclusive to one network since its UK launch in November 2007, it's given it an air of, well, exclusivity. O2 has worked extremely hard to promote the iPhone over the last couple of years - and, it seems, has handed over quite a lot of cash for the privilege. Now, just as the shine is beginning to fade, Apple hands the phone to a network with a huge incentive to give it another massive marketing push.

But here's the key question yet to be answered by either Apple or Orange this morning: what is going to happen to tariffs?

Rory Cellan-Jones

You can't believe that Orange will go into this market charging the same as O2 - and if it does, questions may be asked by the competition authorities. So there's the juicy prospect that an iPhone price war may break out by Christmas - though given the big subsidy operators hand over for a handset like the iPhone, don't expect too much.

Ofcom reportCustomers will also be glad to have a choice of operators given the strain that the flood of data from the iPhone appears to have put on O2's network. They may find Ofcom's research on mobile broadband coverage in the UK [667 Kb PDF] a useful guide to whether Orange or O2 is stronger in their area.

But what of the operators? This morning, O2 was putting a brave face on things, stressing its pride in its record with the iPhone - but also the fact that the network is about to offer the Palm Pre. As one analyst put it to me, "you knew they were losing the iPhone exclusivity when they unveiled the Pre deal."

Orange is of course punching the air, delighted that months of painful negotiation have ended with it winning the prize. But should the network really be celebrating?

A few months back, a telecoms consulting company which has long been sceptical about the importance of the iPhone and its value to operators released a pretty devastating report. Strand Consult's The Moment of Truth: A Portrait of the iPhone set out to demolish what it said were 10 myths about the "miracle" handset:

"1) The iPhone drives data traffic into mobile operators networks
2) The iPhone helps operators attract new customers
3) The iPhone is good business for mobile operators
4) The iPhone is dominating the mobile services market
5) App store is a huge success that has revolutionised the services market
6) There is money to be made by developing applications for the iPhone
7) It is iPhone customers that are generating the majority of online mobile surfing traffic
8) The iPhone has a large market share
9) The iPhone was the first mobile phone with a touchscreen
10) The iPhone is a technologically advanced mobile phone"

Now I'm not sure that the Strand report's one-sided view of the phone's significance to the industry really bears too much scrutiny. I don't see, for instance, how you can deny that the App Store has been a huge success, and one that has been imitated by the rest of the industry. But one thing does seem true - the iPhone appears to have done far more for Apple, both in financial and marketing terms, than it has delivered for the operators around the world which have fought for the right to sell it.

So today's news is good for consumers and good for Apple - but does it really mean a brighter future for Orange?


  • Comment number 1.

    I think it will be good for orange, they have the reputation of being rather expensive as a carrier, so they will probably find people will be willing to pay the orange tax in return for better signal. But they'll have to get it right with the tariff, the £35 o2 deal is pretty good for most people especially for a smartphone

  • Comment number 2.

    Hopefully it will be good for o2 customers as well, as Oranges 3g coverage is better than o2's and Orange have the 3g network sharing agreement with Vodafone, although if they take T-Mobile over they may lose that, but have the benefit of T-Mobile's... anyway I'm rambling.

    Apple won't support heavy discounting so I expect price parity between the two networks, so the real difference will come down to HSDPA/3G coverage, and o2 is pretty poor across the UK in comparison to all other networks, so as an o2 iPhone customer (who hates Orange and would never go with them over a past customer service incident) I'm hopeful o2 will buck up their ideas and roll out more HSDPA/3G coverage.

  • Comment number 3.

    Orange have spent a lot of money on getting this deal, but isn't it to late? People who would of wanted the iphone would now be out of there 12/18month contract and would of already migrated to iphone with o2. They are going to have to do a lot to 'steal' the iphone customers from o2 when there contracts come up for renewal.

  • Comment number 4.

    Of course, the other key question is: will existing iPhone owners be able to benefit from this? All iPhones sold in the UK to date are locked to the O2 network. Will O2 be unlocking these for users (unlikely) or will Apple unlock customer's phones in their stores?

  • Comment number 5.

    I agree with the point about coverage, it's not all about tariffs. I frequently find browsing on the iPhone grinding to a halt -- not out in the wilds but in the centre of London -- because the network can't cope with the data traffic. I'm sure that there is a market out there for people who would pay a higher monthly subscription for a better data service. Another area for competition would be international roaming. I rarely turn on my iPhone when abroad because of the outrageous data charges. If Orange bung in unlimited international data for another £15 per month then they'd capture a lot of iPhone business users.

  • Comment number 6.

    NPerry0 you could say this is fairly good timing, as everyone who bought a 3G when they came out last June will be coming up for renewal in December.

    I know I will seriously be considering switching to Orange, as O2 coverage around where I live is sketchy at best.

  • Comment number 7.

    I'm still confused as to why Palm has gone with O2 exclusively with its Pre - especially in light of this news.

    Surely every O2 customer who was interested in a state of the art smartphone has already got an iPhone. Are people really going to switch networks for the Pre?

    It's good for O2 to retain an exclusive desirable model, but for Palm who want to shift stock, I'm not so sure.

    Wouldn't Palm have been better off going to a network like Vodafone?

  • Comment number 8.

    lukeredpath - was discussing this issue with a friend, it would make sense but unless apple have some special hidden switch i cant see it happeing. The iphone can be unlocked but not without jailbreaking which is fiddly and is naughty in apples books,

    That said maybe apple could modify the software to allow either carrier, it would solve any potential stock issues if they are currently all being manufactured as O2 locked.

  • Comment number 9.

    Can Orange afford this deal?
    I suppose if they are allowed to take over T mobile then suddenly the iphone will be available to all subscribers. And then will the iphone just become a phone?

    The only winner is Apple and the taxman in this deal

  • Comment number 10.

    I can't believe I'm the first to say this...

    Apple on Orange

    I thought that'd be your headline Rory :-)

  • Comment number 11.

    It's an interesting development, but Orange are going to have to improve their data charges to compete. The recent release of the HTC Hero shows they're still reluctant to give out unlimited data plans (perhaps that's why their network performs better?) Depending on the length of contract you take out you get either 500MB anytime internet per month or 3 month's free off-peak internet, after which you have to pay a monthly fee. For a phone that's built around the net and is always connected, that's just not good enough. Compare it to T-Mobile's offering on the same phone... they state that you HAVE to have unlimited internet with the Hero and give it for free.

    Can you imagine buying an iPhone and having a restriction placed on your data usage? Didn't think so.

  • Comment number 12.

    What does this mean for me? I've asked my wife for an iPhone for my birthday in she now likely to tell me to hang on until she works out what the best tariff is likely to be?

    Also, now Apple have killed the exclusivity will all the other networks start selling it?

  • Comment number 13.

    I have a iPhone 3G and like many others are coming to the end of our contracts with O2. Will orange offer an upgrade path to the 3GS or do we have to stick with O2. Problem is O2 coverage is crap and Orange customer service is crap. Which crap is the best to go with. Quite a choice.

  • Comment number 14.

    I've been trying (and failing) to justify the cost of getting an iPhone. I've had my current phone for nearly 7 years and the joystick pad thing has been borked for the last 2. I'm in the market for a new iPod so I was just gearing myself up for another round of comparisons.

    Does this announcement actually apply to the 3GS? I thought that this was the end of the 2-year exclusivity deal for the original iPhone, and that the 3G and the 3GS had equally long exclusivity deals from the date of their respective launches.

    If Orange are going to be offering the 3GS then I guess I'm going to have to wait to see what they come out with.

  • Comment number 15.

    I for one think this is a pretty good thing.

    I have had an Orange contract for many years now, and don't personally agree with other comments that Orange are too expensive. Orange have a pretty slick Customer Service operation, particularly with Orange Premier, and their insurance package is brilliant. I know some people that have had nightmares and wouldn't touch Orange with a bargepole, but for me its been a trouble free relationship. I think you get a better service for the money, but that just me. YMMV...

    I think the interesting thing will be whether Orange choose to use their existing tariff structure with a simple iPhone bolt on to cover the unique features, or keep the model o2 used with iPhone only tariffs. This was the biggest stumbling block for prospective iPhone customers, who thought the ongoing costs on top of the purchase price were too expensive, including package elements that were of no real interest to the end user, and couldn't be changed. Orange have an interesting take on tariffs, which in my view at least is quite innovative. It will be interesting to see how this evolves after the T-Mobile merger too...

    The comments about contract periods is bang on as well. O2 haven't really got their hooks into the newcomers, who bought the phone on merit in the last 12 months, and these are the guys who may move over to Orange. However, the early adopters and fanboys are the ones in real trouble, as you can bet your bottom dollar they went up to the 3GS a few months back, and may end up kicking themselves if Orange release a better deal.

    Speaking as someone who had a company iPhone on o2 in the past, I would welcome the chance to get my own one on Orange legitimately.

  • Comment number 16.

    I am on Orange and had been waiting to come out of contract in November to get an iPhone but now I might not have to change carriers. But PLEASE Orange, don't brand the phone and remove all the good stuff from it and swap Google maps for Orange maps!

  • Comment number 17.

    "The iPhone was the first mobile phone with a touchscreen." Erm, no it wasn't. Nokia launched the very first touch-screen mobile phone around six years ago. It was the Nokia 7700. Look it up. They were stupid enough to drop the ball because it wasn't successful.

  • Comment number 18.

    Oops I bought HTC Hero from Orange 9 days ago. I have been an Orange customer for 10 years. My husband swapped from Orange to O2 for the first iphone but the network coverage was poor and I didn't want to swap too. I had heard rumours that the iphone might be coming and was holding out although I could have renewed my contract/had an upgrade 6 months ago.

    9 days ago I asked Orange on the phone and in the Orange shop about the iphone and they said that there had been rumours for years. So I went for the HTC Hero as the nearest equivalent. It is OK but not an iphone.

    Today Orange say I am locked in and can not renounce the contract to wait on the iphone. I'm disappointed and feel foolish for my loyalty.

    I'll have to wait 18 months now.

  • Comment number 19.

    The ability to get an iPhone from any network is coming. With Orange being an upgrade path in the future, I'm hoping that both O2 and Orange will fight each other for custom, and a price war breaks out.

    Hopefully Vodafone, and in particular, 3 will get in on the iPhone action shortly and we can have a free choice of the network we want to use. I can't see Orange limiting the user from the amount of data they want to use either. They too will have specific iPhone tarrifs comparable with O2. They'd be mad not to.

    The only uncertainties we currently face are what happens with the next generation of iPhone. O2 exclusive still, or not?

  • Comment number 20.

    2. At 12:46pm on 28 Sep 2009, Blue_Blood1
    Apple won't support heavy discounting so I expect price parity between the two networks

    I am always intrigued as to how this works. Or is allowed to.

    Surfing the UK market for a new Mac Mini, the price difference between any vendor is near zero.

    There might, just might be deals on warranty packs.

    At least with mobiles you can weigh service/coverage, etc.

  • Comment number 21.

    I wish telco operators would be forced to be more honest about ongoing costs when the contract expires. I shouldn't have to resort to empty threats about taking my business somewhere else just to get a discount off my bill each month instead of needlessly upgrading my phone.

    If I've paid off the HP on my phone through the contract, then those payments should be removed from my bill as soon as the contract ends leaving me with the honest pricing for the line rental/minutes packages.

    This is partly what's putting me off moving to O2, would they essentially hold me to ransom after 18 months as I can't go on to use the phone anywhere else anyway?

  • Comment number 22.

    An interesting move, but Vodafone would have been a much better idea.

    Since it became part of France Telecom, I now really detest Orange. A once brilliant customer service and slick marketing appears to have gone the pan and the company appears dreary and lack lustre as well as a couldn't care less attitude to customers. It is also, in my opinion the most expensive and with the worst coverage. I cancelled several contracts with them last year.

    I like O2 and will be very happy to stay with them. The iphone is bigger than all of them!

  • Comment number 23.

    Any phone is only as good as its network. I live in DD5 - the suburbs of Dundee yet cannot use my Orange phone from inside the house or the garden and frequently not even the street! This despite assurances when I took out the contract that coverage was good in my area. Customer service has been appalling and I am locked into their contract until next year. It is frustrating enough with my current phone - I would be beside myself if I had an iPhone with Orange.

  • Comment number 24.

    @flipsidedown: I must say I'd be very surprised if Apple let Orange re-brand their lovingly designed phone and OS. Have they allowed it in any other country?

    I thought for a second that they might grab a load of iPhone 3G users as they emerge from their 18 month contracts in January, but I for one don't think I'll be tempted by a 3G-S when the next iteration will be 6 months away. I think they might be able to attract a number of customers (and keep them) if they can devise a 12-month rolling contract that allows for an iPhone upgrade when the new one comes out. A lot of people were annoyed by O2 not doing something like this when the 3G-S came out.

  • Comment number 25.

    Well the Orange website shows/states its the 3GS :-)

    I guess I know where I'll be going when my current 18 month 3G contract runs out - O2 data t/x rates are rubish

  • Comment number 26.

    Well it might mean that those of us on the Gower (which has had coverage from all other networks for > 10 yrs, but where O2 still can't be bothered), now have a chance to have a WORKING iPhone (As opposed to all the posers who bought one without checking whether they actually had even home coverage!)

  • Comment number 27.

    I think a lot of people are missing a trick here. Yes people complain about the o2 3G network and it is justified. You can only have so much people on the network at anyone time.

    People will have their pros and cons regaradless of any network. I've been with o2 for ten years now. I've had good and bad experiences, but i've stayed loyal.Why? Because they have always resolved any issue i've had.

    People demand so much. Back to the iPhone.I don't know how the deals are constructed, but this i know the iPhone works brillantly on wi-fi. I
    can sit in Mcdonalds, Starbucks, Cafe Nero on the Cloud network wander around Leeds City center use BT Openzone. This is unlimited.Get savy people.

    If I want to make a call I take it off of 3g. Get home use my O2 Broadband.We all have a love hate relationship with our operators. You see people want everthing for as little as possible but want it to work all the time. Its a phone. If you left your network now you have a choice. Apart from 3 and Vodafone

  • Comment number 28.

    Hi popshed - you asked "does this announcement actually apply to the 3GS"

    According to the Orange web site they will be offering both the 3G and £GS iPhones: -

    "Orange UK and Apple have reached an agreement to bring iPhone 3G and 3GS to Orange UK customers later this year."

    So, likewise, I'll be interested in the tariffs. Having been with them for over 15 years I hope they will be nice and offer a good tariff :)

  • Comment number 29.

    Geeks. £35 a month for a phone?! My 6 year old one works just fine. I don't get it

  • Comment number 30.

    Rory / Maggie

    Give us a break, tonight in Brussels we have some MPs we do not know starting on the remit of the conciliation of the EU telecoms package. Articles 20.1.b and 21.3.b of the USD give providers room to limit how we use our connectivity. They are not even planning to look at these unless we jump and shout.

    Orange/Iphone - this is like 1960 when you had to rent a POST Office phone to plug into a Post office line.

    Can I configure Orange (or O2) connection to support Google Voice? Not if our Tory MEPS (Harbour and Chichester) have there way.

  • Comment number 31.

    I've got my fingers firmly crossed for a price war. I cannot stand O2's network, it's slugging and the coverage is terrible. If the price is right I'll be getting a 3GS from Orange the moment my O2 contract expires.

  • Comment number 32.

    "Now I'm not sure that the Strand report's one-sided view of the phone's significance to the industry really bears too much scrutiny. I don't see, for instance, how you can deny that the App Store has been a huge success, and one that has been imitated by the rest of the industry. "


    1/ developers are up in arms about how the app store is managed (eg the NIN case study, the Google VoIP case study (one that's even being investigated by the FCC)... in fact, there's been countless public outcry regarding the Apples downright *@#% treatment of iPhone developers.

    2/ software repositories (such as Apple's app store is) existed long before the iPhone was brought to market. In fact, they've been a standard tool for Linux users (yes, I'm talking about the default install of standard desktop for normal people) for several years now!

    All Apples app store has managed to do if find an additional way to delude people into thinking they have control over their handset when in fact Apple are still dictating which apps users can and can't install.

    Every other (smart)phone allows users to install apps from 3rd party sources - the iPhone does not... or at least not without "jail breaking" the iPhone, but then you also run the risk of Apple turning around and bricking your phone - as they've often threatened to do (albeit it a sly, exonerated from responsibility, type PR double speak).

    The most "revolutionary" thing about the iPhone was it's UI. It showed over smart phone OS developers how you can have form and function (take not MS - Windows Mobile is a UI disaster!) however, for everything else (bar Apple PR's incredible knack of making turd look terrific), the iPhone is a step behind the market (particularly technology wise).


  • Comment number 33.

    18. amcunningham You could try invoking the 14 day cooling off period, especially if you got your new phone online or on the phone...if (big if!) Orange have any sense they'll want to keep you happy. I'd also mention how long you've been an Orange customer and the conversations you had with them about the iPhone. It's worth a shot!

  • Comment number 34.

    amcunningham: don't knock the HTC Hero, its a good phone that does all the iPhone does, plus it allows the flexibility of 3rd party apps. I agree with Laurence that all the iPhone really offers is a slick UI and fine marketing, though business wise this was an excellent approach and has made Apple a great deal of money.

    It could be argued that the iPhone effect is whats bring the 3G network to its knees, considering so many teeny boppers appear to own the things and use it constantly for general browsing, rather than a more limited business market using it for work. Distributing this data network burden across more than one network can only be good thing for network speeds, so the move to Orange is good news for consumers.

  • Comment number 35.

    FADviral(comment 17)You say :

    "The iPhone was the first mobile phone with a touchscreen."Erm, no it wasn't."

    Erm - the whole point is that the Strand report says this is another of the myths about the iPhone.

  • Comment number 36.

    I see the iPhone article has dropped down the rankings not unlike iPhone sales - a lot of initial interest which quickly dies away.

    Bluntly anyone expecting a price war between O2 and Orange over a product which has pretty much reached saturation point is delusional. It may be the case that'll you see better results for the next generation of the iPhone but not this one.

  • Comment number 37.

    This whole hype is a marketing man's wet dream. Why do you all continue to buy into this consumerist nonsense?

  • Comment number 38.

    I just had to chip in.

    Its a great product but not even Apple Tier 2 support gurus or o2 sales people can suggest what Im supposed to do when I finish my contract. Until this announcement I had the choice..

    a) leave o2 and "jailbreak" the phone to another network to get a better tariff (I hate that work - why am I jail breaking when its legal in most EU countries??) (no more security patches, updates or tech support even though the phone has 9 months Apple warranty still)

    b) not jail break and be stuck with o2 and the same tariff!! Great (not)

    Whether this is good news for Orange, it *has* to be good news for SOMEBODY offering an alternative to this very anti-competitive "lock in" to o2.

    Forget iPhone prices, iPhone TARRIF prices are going to tumble when they launch...


  • Comment number 39.

    Having been an Apple fanatic, former software developer and authorised Apple engineer for some years, I tried an iPhone 3G on O2 this year when my Orange contract came to fruition. What a complete dissapointment!! The key aspect of this device is connectivity... and the coverage delivered on the O2 network was diabolical. Now lets get one thing straight... everything based on connectivity is a fraud... Your broadband, your mobile phone coverage is all sold fraudulantly. The only lesson to be learnt about these devices is... when you really need it, it won't work. But hey, you don't need any of this stuff anyway... do you :-)

  • Comment number 40.

    The iPhone wasn't the first with a touchscreen, but it was the first with a Capacitive screen. This is what allows all the pinching, multi-touch guestures that makes the iPhone so special. Other phones are just starting to become available with capacitive screens, but very few have multi-touch support, for example Android phones.

  • Comment number 41.

    The news article states "You may see a £30 per month tariff versus £35, but I would not expect anything more."

    There's already a £30 tariff on O2, that's why I've been trying to reconsider the iPhone again. An iPod Touch'll set me back > £200 anyway for decent capacity, I need a new phone and that's going to cost me at least £20pm on a contract so it's no longer that big of a leap to £30.

    Just the mere fact of having two carriers will hopefully mean that at the very least the lock-in at the end of the contract is over.

    I do think though that this whole "tariff continues at the same rate" after your contract is up is something that needs to be challenged like the bank charges. I'd be tempted to threaten small claims court to recover the difference between repaying the cost of the handset and the actual real tariff costs. It should be fairly easy to work out the average cost of the phone alone by looking at all the various tariffs, then just deduct that from the monthly cost. Reasonableness comes into play, and if a judge thinks it's unreasonable for a phone company to continue charging the same price when it's clear you've been subsidising the cost of the handset for 18 months then I can't see how they wouldn't find in your favour.

    I'll let you know how I get on in a couple of years.

  • Comment number 42.

    Purely selfishly, this is good news for me as an individual consumer. For some months now, I have been mulling over the O2 iPhone, and particularly the latest generation 3GS version.
    I've retained the same contract number from the days when the prefix was '0378' and in that time (around 17 years) I have started out life with Vodafone, migrated to Orange for 7 years and last year, migrated back to Vodafone.
    Why move again? Two words. BlackBerry Storm.
    Awful, awful device, causing me to elect to terminate my contract in the coming few days and hop onto Apple's O2 bandwagon
    Until now...
    Yes, there may not be much wriggle room with tariffs, but surely there must be some competition and Orange's superior 3G network will come into play. I for one am now reviewing precisely when to jump from the Storm (in a teacup) to what is, frankly, still the benchmark smartphone device with proven technology and user friendliness.
    Reading around the Telecoms industry-specific sites (I'm in the trade...), there is some conjecture that Orange will be clearing out older generation handsets in the Xmas rush, and the 3GS evolutions will follow on. That's fine too...I'll wait.

  • Comment number 43.

    I am very much an iPhone addict. The big problem I have is the shockingly poor coverage I get from O2, since moving home I cannot even get a signal in my own house - and I hardly live in the backend of nowhere! I have stayed with the old 2G version because I was locked into a contract I could not see any point in upgrade to something with the same poor coverage. I know Orange has good coverage here so I am ready to jump over to them at the earliest opportunity.

  • Comment number 44.

    I got my iPhone about 6 weeks ago. I just love it - it's a tactile functional delight. Apart from the o2 g3 connection coverage. Patchy, unreliable, and when you can get it, so sloooooow. Why did Apple choose this company/network? The service providers make the mistake of thinking that what we want is cheap, but what really sells is "good".

  • Comment number 45.

    "The iPhone wasn't the first with a touchscreen, but it was the first with a Capacitive screen. This is what allows all the pinching, multi-touch guestures that makes the iPhone so special. Other phones are just starting to become available with capacitive screens, but very few have multi-touch support, for example Android phones."

    Actually Android does via a patch (IIRC it's an official Google patch).
    Even the Android handsets (eg G1) support multi-touch.

    Google just couldn't include multi-touch as part of the vanilla set up because of risk of patent infringement (hence why Apple took Palm to court over the Pre for multi-touch).

    Personally, i think the patent is a joke given there's clear prior art invalidating the patent, but unfortunately none of that matters as US court favours big businesses over consumers (and clearly it's the consumers that are getting hurt here).

  • Comment number 46.


    The first capacitive touchscreen?

    No, no it wasn't. The LG Prada beats it for a start.

    This is where the Strand report is useful. It helps dispel the myths, rubbish and hype surrounding a product which has sold about as much as the N95 in the UK (despite Apple's laughable method of counting all three models and iPod touches in their figures).

    But hey, let's continue to bump it up. Not that it matters - Joe Public will get bored of it in the same way they did with the RAZR and N95 and move onto something else.

  • Comment number 47.

    I have 3 phones on 3 different networks - Orange has the worst coverage and worst customer services. I live within 4 miles of Orange headquarters in Bristol yet I cannot use my Orange at home.

    After years as the UK’s best mobile network, France Telecom successfully squeezed Orange until it became one of the worst, battling it out for bottom place with T Mobile. Now they may merge to become the UK’s largest network. They promise improvements but as neither company has a good track record for investment I suspect they will simply share bottom place.

    I don't think this is such a good deal for Apple unless they let people unlock the handsets and use other networks with better coverage.

    I think Orange and Apple is going to be a lemon!

  • Comment number 48.

    For those wondering what to do when their current O2 iPhone contracts expire, there is currently nothing stopping you from changing over to O2's rolling Simplicity contract, £20 a month with the unlimited internet bundle last time I checked.

    This was, and currently still is, my plan but I'm interested to see what Orange offer and if it will be possible to transfer my existing phone to their network.

  • Comment number 49.

    Coming from the Mobile Business, we've been hearing for around 3 Months that Orange would be selling the iPhone, but that they would only be able to offer the older 3G model. Just wondering if anyone can shed light on this matter, as all the articles i've read today have failed to mention which iPhone Orange would be selling.

  • Comment number 50.

    One other thing that strikes me as strange is the fact that all other networks have been claiming that the iPhone is inferior to their offering. Therefore how can Orange customers now be expected to believe that the iPhone is now something worthwhile investing in, it hasn't really changed since launch!

  • Comment number 51.

    I have a PAYG 3GS on o2.

    When the 12month data period is over will I be able to insist it is unlocked so I can choose another carrier if I choose.

  • Comment number 52.

    The winners are - Apple and consumers. The losers are - networks who can't offer iPhone.

    Apple has used iPhone to force carriers to an affordable flat-rate mobile data service that doesn't penalise data not from the carrier's "walled garden" of proprietary services. Mobile handhelds will never be the same again.

    This forced change has been good for consumers, and immensely profitable for Apple. Government and regulators will soon have to change the rules in the consumers' favour to level the playing field. Until they do, Apple (and to a lesser extent other smartphone makers) will continue milking carrier cartel revenues indefinitely via subsidies, and consumers will continue to overpay for mobile service.

    Me? I've got a factory unlocked 3GS from Italy, thanks, and I can use it with any carrier I like. That would be T-mobile via my nice original 1999 Virgin contract at £0 a month, just as soon as my £30 a month iPhone 3G O2 contract finishes.

  • Comment number 53.

    Reference post 49 from kjdaco, various sites report that Orange will be stocking both iPhone 3G & 3GS versions.
    Have a look at the following link as an example: and although it doesn't specify precisely when 3GS will be available, Tom Alexander (Orange UK's CEO) is quoted in the article as saying it will be 'before Christmas' via a range of sales channels.
    3GS stock visuals are also plastered over Orange's website.
    I've already registered my interest.
    By the way, if you want an entertaining read, have a look at the following as well...
    and check the lead story on the home page...

  • Comment number 54.

    I have had the iPhone 3GS for 3 months now with O2, yes I have now always been happy about the 3G coverage and at times I get so annoyed when i can't get a signal at all (based in suffolk), however as an O2 customer I have been very happy with their customer service, every-time I called them, my problem was always resolved strait away and I have had only few little minor issues.

    I think this might be the kick that O2 need to start taking their existing customers seriously and start investing in proper 3G coverage, I think their exclusivity over the last 2 years on selling the iphone has made them lazy and maybe take their customers for granted. So, a bit of competition is always a healthy thing and I just hope O2 invest more into improving thier network over the coming months.

  • Comment number 55.

    "Who wins from an Orange iPhone?"

    The answer is Apple.

    See you next iArticle.

    PS I thought this was a tech blog, not business blog.

  • Comment number 56.

    As an American that has only one choice of AT&T and iPhone for US coverage, I'm fascinated to read about the ability to choose carriers with the iPhone as well as the support of Pre on O2. Wondering how both devices will affect the carrier's systems and support levels.

    Let's hope it works out for consumers - as AT&T is incredibly slow and with dropped calls. Sadly, it was like this before supporting iPhone.

    Jealously watching this experiment..

  • Comment number 57.

    52. At 8:06pm on 28 Sep 2009, ancientdream wrote:
    The winners are - Apple and consumers. The losers are - networks who can't offer iPhone.

    Apple has used iPhone to force carriers to an affordable flat-rate mobile data service that doesn't penalise data not from the carrier's "walled garden" of proprietary services. Mobile handhelds will never be the same again.

    This forced change has been good for consumers, and immensely profitable for Apple. Government and regulators will soon have to change the rules in the consumers' favour to level the playing field. Until they do, Apple (and to a lesser extent other smartphone makers) will continue milking carrier cartel revenues indefinitely via subsidies, and consumers will continue to overpay for mobile service.

    Me? I've got a factory unlocked 3GS from Italy, thanks, and I can use it with any carrier I like. That would be T-mobile via my nice original 1999 Virgin contract at £0 a month, just as soon as my £30 a month iPhone 3G O2 contract finishes.

    ancientdream, you are ancient dreaming! there is no such thing as a factory unlocked iphone, oh dear.

  • Comment number 58.

    Writing this on my Toshiba TG01 [5 weeks from Orange]. Alright its on Windows 6.1, but 6.5 coming soon. If I had known about the impending arrival of the iphone I would probably have waited...but....I am very happy with this and there are thousands of third party apps...many free...don't think my phone is locked as tight as the iphone either. I believe its just a brand thing...a very clever one too!

  • Comment number 59.

    The people who commented on O2's network speed are quite right. My iPhone is my third 3G phone, but the first that has really liberated me to use the internet. It's usability combined with the app store's flexibility make it a winner.

    The trouble is, in central London at least, the O2 network just doesn't seem to take the strain. As I write this, my iPhone internet connection is down on GPRS ... again. O2 has been a victim of its own success with the iPhone. Until they boost capacity, anyone thinking of buying one should consider the other networks whatever the tariffs turn out to be.

  • Comment number 60.

    And it seems that Vodafone has gotten onto the iPhone bandwagon.

    Nice :)

  • Comment number 61.

    The BBC's Vodafone piece has no link to Vodafone in the main right nav - not very impartial is that for a taxpayer-funded organisation?


  • Comment number 62.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 63.

    I have a contract with orange (starting from April 2009) but would like to change my phone for a iphone when it comes out, would orange let me do that?

  • Comment number 64.

    I just read that Strand report - half of it is rubbish. They use selective or partial data sets to 'prove' a point or as they put it 'dispel common myths'.

    I wonder who commissioned that report and what their agenda is?

  • Comment number 65.

    I am currently with O2 with a nokia N96 phone and was seriously considering buying out my contract to get an iphone but not now!! Years ago I was with vodafone and have just registered an interest for the iphone with them.

    Having 3 networks with the iphone can, hopefully, only be good for the consumer but.... we will have to wait and see.

    Being an apple fan (I have a mac) I must admit not being overly impressed with the original iphone, it was only when they updated the software to include mms/video/bluetooth that I decided that I would like one. Also, have people realised that Apple are/have been very crafty - the bluetooth upgrade is not a software thing, it is actually hardware that the iphone already had and was activated by the software update (confirmed to me by an authorised Apple partner) - what else (if anything) is built into the iphone I wonder - ie not already 'activated'?

    Now that the 64gb ipod touch is out, will a 64gb iphone be issued? Will this be the next update?

  • Comment number 66.

    Unlikely to be good for Orange or Vodafone for that matter. You have to consider that all the majority of revenue is essentially directly AND indirectly controlled by Apple, whether through licensing deals, app purchases and other over-the-air services. In all, this amounts to the service providers ending up as a so-called 'dumb-pipe'.

    Essentially, all that the operators will receive in terms of recognition is their logo on a funky bit of kit, little in the way of profit. Worse thing is, other users are subsidising this the growth in traffic, whilst Apple is enjoying the ride! Imagine if all mobile comms manufacturers used this route, there wouldn't be any networks available to run any of this kit in the first place.

    Bring on the LiMo handsets for a more open ended future is what I say...

  • Comment number 67.

    I'll be intrigued to see how the tariffs for the other companies vary.

    I decided to get a 2G iphone, and use my simplicity tariff (as the above person), and with cashback on that, the iphone does more or less everything the newer ones do for a rather lower price.

    The main advantage it has at the minute is the headstart it got. There's a LOT of apps out there for it, and they provide a surprisingly large amount of functionality. And again, the jailbreaking means that there's an even greater degree of use, and an ability to get on other networks.

    However, this advantage can't last for ever. Eventually, the android/blackberry/pre stores will get there, and I may have to move. Will be nice to keep the same tariff!

  • Comment number 68.

    29 Sep 2009, lalippy

    i would keep my n96, i love it, live champions league and premier league football at work!!! thank you o2 for unlimited web!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 69.

    oh and i forgot to mention any other events such as ppv boxing etc,

    i have had my nokia 8910i for about 6 years and now and the reception is going poor indoors, the best and most stylish phone ever imo, so no phone will ever beats its compact look and feel.

    i used to keep my contract sim in a nokia 1100 for battery life and my payg sim in 8910i which also has good battery life. i would always sell off my free upgrade for a nice cash sum.

    but then i thought about finally gettin with the times and the best phones (at the time, i think in january) i was led to believe were n96 or iphone

    i went with n96, as i was not too keen with the touch screen and all the hype with the iphone, i did doubt if i had made the right decision

    but i only ever use my phones for calling and hardly evr text, so i didnt see how i would ever use all the technology in either of them,

    i dont use camera or viedeo camera in my n96, i only use the flash when i need emergency light

    i hardly ever browse the internet, just for youtube and live tv streaming

    but finally after a few months my n96 came to some good use, now its loaded with emulators of sega mega drive, super nintendo, nes, and game boy advance, and software to stream live sports events for free!!!!!

    there are not many boring times at work now!!!!!!

    i still dont think its worth the list price though, i only got it because it was free for £28 a month, 1200 mins 1000 text and internet, and it was on o2, but for some reason they wanted me to take the iphone, they almost put a gun to my head!!

  • Comment number 70.

    So has anyone confirmed if or when orange will be offering the 3GS iPhone, because there doesn't seem to be a clear statement and most articles, e.g., state that O2 will maintain its exclusivity for this model.


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