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O2 iPhone 3G Pre-Order Service In Trouble

Gordon Kelly by

O2 iPhone 3G Pre-Order Service In Trouble

We did say the iPhone 3G pre-order service was good theoretically...

Sadly however we are getting reports from customers that the whole process has - in the words of one reader - degenerated into "a total and utter shambles", something we can confirm from our own experience. So what's going on?

In a nutshell what we are seeing is a late surge of O2 texts to customers informing them they are eligible to upgrade to the iPhone 3G. This in turn is overloading the dedicated order site and bringing it to a near standstill causing orders to time out and - worst still - hit upgraders with a barrage of upgrade code text messages as they are forced to restart the ordering process time and time again.

Ultimately, this all seems a classic case of underestimating demand and it certainly doesn't bode well for the 11 July official launch when stores are expected to be deluged by 1,000s of eager customers. On the other hand, it does suggest the new subsidised iPhone 3G prices are going to be a major hit following the rather muted response to its predecessor's sky-high upfront costs.

Will you be upgrading? Let us know your experiences: did it go smoothly or has the whole process put you off the iPhone 3G for good...?

Update: O2 has acknowledged these troubles and says it is working hard to rectify the problem. It is also re-emphasising that customers get to stores early on 11 July to minimise risk of disappointment. Doors open 8.02am.


O2 iPhone 3G Product Page

iPhone 3G Upgrade Page

Go to comments


July 7, 2008, 5:22 pm

they say for everyone that registers they order an extra phone,hmm smell the bull they are sole suppliers so i guess they order from foxxcon which takes 8 weeks.it still astonishes me that a &#163600 nokia n95 is offered free on the same contract when an iphone costs &#163269.

i guess it was apples first go,they seem tobe realising market value....almost.


July 7, 2008, 5:39 pm

what a joke

The upgrade website is a classic case of an overdesigned, over complicated site.

They send me texts and emails saying "we anticipate demand will be high" and "first come first serve" then do little to prepare for it...

I don't normally have a problem with o2 and still think they are the best of the providers...but they have really dropped the ball on this one.


July 7, 2008, 5:50 pm

Also did anyone notice that you couldn't choose colour on that form?

Tim 1

July 7, 2008, 5:51 pm

I've been trying on and off to get onto the site to upgrade all morning, still no joy! The failover form pages don't even work! Is this O2 trying to exaggerate the hype by having reports of the servers going down all over the news?! Or is it just such a rubbish upgrade system using flash on one server?

Are they using flash just so you can't upgrade on your iPhone?

Hans Gruber

July 7, 2008, 6:41 pm

Stupid to send out upgrade texts to current iPhone owners whilst maintaining scarcity of supply limits new customers to one iPhone each. What were they thinking?

Incidentally, what happens to people's old iPhone when they upgrade to the new 3G/GPS model? Will there be a glut of second-hand first-gen iPhones on the market or are they to be recycled/resold by O2 or what?


July 7, 2008, 6:43 pm

grrrrr.... upgrade website now says.... "Due to huge demand for iPhone 3G, we're currently out of stock online. Come back on 10th July for more information"

What a load of rubbish - I'll be shocked if:

1./ anyone's managed to buy one today.

2./ they really did order one for everyone who showed interest...


Tim 1

July 7, 2008, 6:44 pm

All out of stock online now.

I guess the next thing to try is the carphonewarehouse or prepare to queue out side an O2 shop that has proberly sold its quota to staff or the staffs friends and family! Rubbish!

It's hard to believe O2 could have treated it's loyal customers so badly. I bet buying one on a new contract won't be this hard! (they have proberly put loads to the side for new customers!)


July 7, 2008, 6:57 pm

was on at 7ish this morning when i received the mail and instantly started trying to order, site crashed at the point of processing the order, tried again and again and the site went down pretty quick once demand picked up.

the site now reports they are sold out and now im missing out because of the shambles that is o2. numerous friends had the same difficulty and we have all come away empty handed, were not even signed up to o2 yet and were already having second thoughts.


July 7, 2008, 7:22 pm

Sounds like upgrading was a nightmare. New customers were better off it seems - I ordered my 16GB iPhone without a hitch. I'd have liked white, but black was the only one available.


July 7, 2008, 9:51 pm

Though I have no facts or stats to show, it seems like new customers are getting priority over existing O2 customers.

I wonder how many new customer registrations were successful compared to existing customer registrations before the O2 site when down.

Also why is carphonewarehouse is only allowing new customer registrations.


July 7, 2008, 11:15 pm

I just pre-ordered one at carphone warehouse for delivery as a new customer, and it could not have been less difficult. Sorry to hear about the trouble you guys are having.

Bryan Kerr

July 8, 2008, 1:08 am

I wasted about 3 hours this morning trying to get an upgrade with no luck. The website kept crashing and I must have entered my details at least 30 times. When I went back to try in the afternoon there was a notice saying that there was too much demand and they had stopped taking internet orders. I hope Fridays launch goes better.


July 8, 2008, 3:08 am

the thing is,if you upgrade you are basically agreeing to a new contract;exactly the same as a new customer,unless they look at your account and think you're not spending enough on extra's.

i mean how many are expected to sell in uk ? 60,000? surely that is one shipment:i guess everyones going the wii route now.


July 8, 2008, 3:52 am

Definitely put me off the 3G iphone I was going to upgrade as a loyal iphone user who got my iphone on the day of launch but after this upgrade fiasco and the fact that O2/CPW sold off their original iphone stock at the reduced price of &#163169 less than 6 months after the original launch and allowed multiple purchases and no enforcement of signing contract agreements which allowed individuals to profiteer by selling unlocked iphones on various auction sites. I paid &#163269 and entered into a 18 month &#16335 per month agreement as did most individuals who bought on the original launch day and believe we have had appalling treatment on 2 occasions by o2, so much for loyalty.

Tarik Bos

July 8, 2008, 3:47 pm

all this trouble about a phone with an feature that should have been there from the beginning, like say... every high end phone...


July 8, 2008, 6:57 pm

Official Email from o2 Director - http://customerforum.o2.co.uk/...

A resonable explanation - but one that I can't help but think could have been easily resolved by having a pre-order system - i.e if you registered interest then on a first registered first come basis - here is your pre-order code valid for 2 days.

then you could only go to the online shop if you had a valid code.

Their shop would not have gone down - and punters would have been happy(er).

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