3UK Set To Join Tesco-Driven iPhone Price War?

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Mobile operator 3 accused of giving iPhones to get custom, as Tesco drops the purchase price of Apple’s device

3 UK may soon be offering its customers the Apple iPhone, according to media reports, while Tesco has cut the price of the standard iPhone handset in a bid to keep customers.

Using iPhones to keep customers

3 UK
3 UK

UK network 3 definitely intends to offer the iPhone this year.  “I would take the iPhone, and I hope to have it in 2010,” said 3 chief executive Kevin Russell ata seminar in October 2009.

However, one 3 customer has apparently been given a 16GB iPhone 3GS, according to tech website ITProPortal. Apparently, the unnamed customer had been with 3 for a number of years but threatened to leave. The operator then apparently provided him with a iPhone, to keep his custom.

ITProPortal speculates this is part of a possible iPhone roll out or test programme, but it seems highly likely to us that 3 is simply using the ploy of offering an iPhone to individuals as a temporary measure to retain valued customers.

Last month O2 launched a new ‘SIM-only’ tariff for iPhone users, in an effort to hold onto its existing iPhone customer base and stop them from moving to a rival network, to match a similar offer from Vodafone.

Every Little Helps

Meanwhile leading British supermarket Tesco, which began selling the iPhone back in December last year, has lowered the price of the iPhone in an effort to increase its market share.

The supermarket is offering the iPhone 3G (8GB) for a purchase price of just £100, with a 12 month contract at £35 per month. Meanwhile the 16GB 3GS handset will cost £200, and the 32GB 3GS model is retailing at £275. The 12 month contract includes 750 voice minutes a month, unlimited texts, and Wi-Fi via BT Openzone.

The move comes as prices of advanced handsets decline, thanks to increased competition in the market-place.

A new iPhone is expected to arrive in June and the new mobile operating system, Apple iPhone OS 4.0 fixes one of the handset’s major shortcomings, namely the lack of multitasking.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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