Vodafone to sell the iPhone next year

Vodafone to sell the iPhone next year

Summary: The operator has followed Orange in announcing it will stock Apple's smartphone in the UK market, as O2's exclusivity on the handset draws to a close

TOPICS: Networking

Vodafone is to carry the iPhone in the UK early next year, the operator said on Tuesday.

The news follows Orange's announcement on Monday that it too will start selling the iPhone, a move that will end O2's two-year exclusivity on Apple's popular handset. Unlike Vodafone, however, Orange will begin stocking the iPhone before the end of this year.

The Vodafone Group already sells the iPhone through 13 of its operators around the world, while Orange stocks the handset in 28 countries and territories. Neither Vodafone nor Orange has announced details of their iPhone pricing plans for the UK market.

Of the other UK operators, T-Mobile has said it has no plans to offer the iPhone, and 3 has not indicated its intentions regarding the handset.

In a statement on Tuesday, Matt Wheeler, managing director of the mobile-phone comparison site Omio.com, said: "Orange has all but confirmed a pre-Christmas release whilst Vodafone has admitted an early 2010 launch, all but counting themselves out of the inevitable price war that will ensue."

"2010 is a long wait. It is difficult to say whether their as-yet unannounced pricing strategy and incentives [will] be strong enough to keep the Vodafone faithful onside once the iPhone becomes a free-for-all," Wheeler added.

Topic: Networking

David Meyer

About David Meyer

David Meyer is a freelance technology journalist. He fell into journalism when he realised his musical career wouldn't pay the bills. David's main focus is on communications, as well as internet technologies, regulation and mobile devices.

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  • Too little too late?

    Can't fault Vodafone for their speed of response to the announcement from Orange - but it must be a concern that they will be third to market with the iPhone, and whilst Orange will launch in November Vodafone have to wait to the New Year. The iPhone saga must be a painful reminder to Vodafone of the cost of not going further in the initial auction for exclusivity. When he was appointed as CEO, Mr Colao admitted that the outcome had hurt the business and stated that Vodafone needed to be 'faster' - faster to adapt to changing consumer needs, faster to market with new products, ... they still need to deliver on that promise.

    My sense is that Vodafone's response - partnering with RIM on the Blackberry Storm has failed to live up to expectations. Although popular with some business users, many Blackberry fans seem to have opted for the QWERTY keyboard option and the Storm has too many usability issues.

    I have enormous respect for Vodafone - they have traditionally had the best network, the best customer service for business users and are a great example of a UK business leading an industry. For these reasons it seems unthinkable that a market leader is facing potential relegation to third place in terms of market share and speed to market with the iPhone.
    James B-c7f32
  • Well with regards to the iphone..

    All this cant have helped it at all I don't see the point to exclusivity deals, I know I'll make the worlds greatest phone and then I'll fail to allow 75% of the world to buy the sodding thing. :S yup thats real initiative.