O2’s exclusive deal in the UK comes to an end as Orange seizes the chance to offer Apple’s iPhone 3GS. T-Mobile users will probably have to wait
Orange will be selling the Apple iPhone before the end of 2009, ending O2’s exclusive deal to sell the device in the UK.
It had been widely known that O2’s exclusive deal with Apple was coming to and – and O2 was criticised for charging heavily for upgrades to the new 3GS model, in a bid to gouge value from the deal before it ended.
Orange would not reveal prices or dates but it has an iPhone website where potential customers can pre-register. “Orange UK and Apple have reached an agreement to bring iPhone 3G and 3GS to Orange UK customers later this year,” said a brief Orange statement.
O2 has done very well from the exclusive, putting on 1m iPhone subscribers, out of 20m worldwide, but most countries have moved on from exclusive iPhone deals with Apple, except the US, where AT&T still has the phone to itself.
Orange is due to merge with T-Mobile, pending regulators’ approval, but the deal is only with Orange, which expects to maintain a separate brand after the merger – this will mean that T-Mobile customers won’t get the iPhone right away, and will have to make do with the Android-based HTC Hero.