Apple announces UK iPhone partner: O2 (Updated)

Speaking at the company's "Mum is no longer the word" event at the Apple Store on Regent Street in London, company CEO Steve Jobs announced that Apple will begin offering the iPhone in the UK on 09 November 2007 for £269 including VAT.Apple's carrier partner is O2 (the U.

Apple announces UK iPhone partner: O2

Speaking at the company's "Mum is no longer the word" event at the Apple Store on Regent Street in London, company CEO Steve Jobs announced that Apple will begin offering the iPhone in the UK on 09 November 2007 for £269 including VAT.

Apple's carrier partner is O2 (the U.K. mobile arm of Spain's Telefonica) and rate plans are as follows:

  • £35 per month includes 200 minutes, 200 SMS and unlimited data*
  • £45 per month includes 600 minutes, 500 SMS and unlimited data*
  • £55 per month includes 1,200 minutes, 500 SMS and unlimited data*

*18 months contract required and there is a limit of 1,400 internet pages per day. Anyone else annoyed that Apple/O2 calls this "unlimited data?" Isn't that deceptive marketing?

The UK iPhone is essentially the same EDGE model that we have stateside–sorry folks no 3G in this one. Steve address the 3G issue in the Q&A session:

Q: Why not 3G networks?

Steve: "The 3G chipsets are real power hogs. Handset battery life cuts power to 2-3 hours." Yeah yeah, we've heard it before. "Our phone has a talk time of 8 hours and that's really important when you want to use your phone for internet and music. 3G needs to get back up to 5+ hours, something we think well see later next year. ... WiFi is way faster than any 3G network. Energy efficient EDGE with better, faster WiFi. That's why we chose it."

Only 30 percent of the UK has EDGE coverage at launch so Apple announced a partnership with WiFi provider Cloud and is offering iPhone customers free access to over 7,000 hotspots in the UK.

A new purple icon was visible in the UK iPhones fourth row. "That's the iTunes WiFi Music Store, coming this month to the UK."

More interesting nuggets can be found in Engadget's live coverage.

Update: That didn't take long. The backlash against O2, EDGE and the event in general is already starting. As someone in the Engadget forum said "What a waste of an airplane ticket." It seems like the Brits want their 3G and are not really happy that Apple selected O2. A friend outside London confirms the ineptness of O2 as a service provider. Others have commented on Apple's formula for currency conversion. My personal favorite: several people posted that it would be cheaper to fly to Boston get an iPhone, have it unlocked and fly home and use it on their existing network. Ouch

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