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Orange UK Lands iPhone, O2 Loses Exclusivity

Gordon Kelly


Orange UK Lands iPhone, O2 Loses Exclusivity

It's here...

The long running rumours that O2 was set to lose its iPhone exclusivity in the UK have turned out to be true after Orange finally announced today it will also soon sell the highest of all high profile handsets.

In a company statement it declared:

"Orange UK and Apple have reached an agreement to bring iPhone 3G and 3GS to Orange UK customers later this year. Orange globally now offers iPhone in 28 countries and territories. Orange, which has the largest 3G network covering more people in the UK than any other operator, will sell iPhone in all Orange direct channels including Orange shops, the Orange webshop and Orange telesales channels, as well as selected high street partners. A pre-registration site for customers to log their interest has already been launched at www.orange.co.uk/iPhone. More information on pricing, tariffs and availability dates will be released in due course."

By contrast, O2 has responded saying:

"We're proud that we've been able to offer an exclusive iPhone deal to our 20 million customers for the last two years. We always knew that iPhone exclusivity was for a limited period of time, but our relationship with Apple continues and will be an ongoing success. We have over 1million iPhone customers and they remain very important to us. We aim to offer our customers the best devices on the market, including becoming the home of Smartphones and we are really pleased to now add another device in the Palm Pre. We also offer award-winning customer service and benefits, which is why more people choose O2 than any other network in the UK."

I'd agree with the customer service part, but judging by the Twitter world's reaction to the news it seems there isn't much love out there for O2 currently. It may be the UK's largest network, but it seems to have achieved this via endless handset exclusives rather than through the quality and spread of its network service which has already been slammed by Ofcom. The O2 Data network has also been particularly unreliable in recent months and who could forget reader reaction to the extortionate O2 iPhone 3GS tariffs.

So let's hope competition and consequently choice brings a better service to iPhone users nationwide. With the Orange and T-Mobile merger announced earlier this month, it looks like a new heavyweight is in town...


Orange UK iPhone

O2 Statement


September 28, 2009, 4:10 pm

If Vodafone would offer the iPhone in the UK, I would put my order in today.

Technical Itch

September 28, 2009, 4:29 pm

Fantastic news. About time we had some healthy competition to drive down the currently extortionate prices that O2 have been getting away with (for too long). Be interested to see how they pitch it.


September 28, 2009, 4:42 pm

o2's 3g was down again in my area - everybody using an iphone was down to gprs speeds for the morning and afternoon.


September 28, 2009, 4:43 pm

Great news for prospective iPhone owners - now you too can have the opportunity to experience truly diabolical customer service courtesy of Orange UK.


September 28, 2009, 4:45 pm

Hurry through the T-Mobile merger please. iPhone on Flext = Awesome.


September 28, 2009, 4:45 pm

Yeah Alright!

Now watch prices & Tarrifs get cheaper

and then the iphones domination will be complete


September 28, 2009, 5:01 pm

I'll be tempted if the price is right

If I can't get unlimited texts for a set price it's really not worth it to me


September 28, 2009, 5:11 pm

I guess it's too much to hope we'll get something similar in Ireland. Our contracts are even worse and we have less competition.


September 28, 2009, 5:18 pm

It seems to me to pan out something like this:

O2: once great, now network is horribly strained and unreliable though customer service is good.

Orange: once great, then pants, now huge network improvements over last year but customer service horrible.

The choice is yours!


September 28, 2009, 5:21 pm

Neat. My vodafone contract runs out in February and was dreading the possibility of having to go to O2 at their prices. Most of my family are on Orange so I can now go with that. Plus orange Wednesday will be useful.


September 28, 2009, 5:41 pm

Competitive pricing between O2 and Orange.....

...or pricing controlled by Apple whichever network you choose?

This will be interesting....


September 28, 2009, 6:10 pm

Orange Wednesdays...

other than that, no idea. oh, the data service from Orange sucks, so called unlimited (500mb) web surfing.


September 28, 2009, 6:12 pm

Could be good for competition but in terms of network coverage and quality the only switch I'd be prepared to make is to Vodafone. I only moved to OPoo because of the exclusive... though I'd still have picked them over Orange. The rest of you move to Orange... then maybe O2 will be alright =D

Barry Ward

September 28, 2009, 6:15 pm

"O2: once great, now network is horribly strained and unreliable though customer service is good.

Orange: once great, then pants, now huge network improvements over last year but customer service horrible."

Yep- seems that's the situation. I have a 3GS on O2 atm, and can honestly say their customer service is great (as it is with their broadband too), but signal isn't great and 3G is a waste of time even in places of Birmingham. I was in the hospital the other day, and was embarrassed that my "super-duper iPhone" couldn't get a signal while others around me in the waiting room were happily on their phones to their friends and relatives. Most of the time I try to access the net away from home, the 3G signal quickly changes to E (EDGE).

I have to put up with this till next Xmas thanks to the contract. If things don't get better, Orange here I come.


September 28, 2009, 6:32 pm

Apple making a deal with Orange, what's the odd's it goes Pear shaped?

It all all sounds a bit fruity to me. :)


September 28, 2009, 6:40 pm

@Keith - so good, I just tweeted it! http://twitter.com/GordonKelly...


September 28, 2009, 6:41 pm




September 28, 2009, 6:57 pm

So d'you think is this an omen for AT&T prisoners, who badly want to migrate to Verizon?


September 28, 2009, 6:59 pm

@Keith&&Gordon: Why did I just read that on Twitter then come here to read it again? It's like double-posting within my limited time-frame and memory banks... pffft, damned technology.


September 28, 2009, 7:23 pm

I doubt the handset price will change given the vulnerable sterling/dollar parity and end of lower VAT(15%) after December. So the realistic hopes should be:

1- Competition on offering Visual VoiceMail and tethering on Pay&Go.

2- Competition on offering one-day Bolt-on or Pay&Go style option for tethering on Pay Monthly contract rather than current one-month Bolt-on option.

3- Competition on more free minutes allowance on £30 monthly tariff.

4- Competition on introducing sub £30 monthly tariff probably £25 or £20 considering recession and 18/24 months binding contract.


September 28, 2009, 7:48 pm

I really hope Orange doesn't try and force me onto an 'official' iPhone tariff - I like the deal I've currently negotiated with them, and not paying O2's extortionate rates!

FWIW, I've never had any issues with Orange's customer services in the 10 years or so I've been with them.


September 28, 2009, 9:08 pm

This is tough, do I stick with iffy coverage with great customer service, or move to greatly superior 3G coverage with a company that's shafted me twice in the past?

What are the chances of Vodafone or 3 making an announcement soon?

Tony Walker

September 28, 2009, 9:38 pm

@Keith and Gordon

What about people with Blackberries...

I'll get me coat!


September 28, 2009, 9:41 pm

hmm, fruity


September 28, 2009, 9:49 pm

Never mind Orange's customer service, I haven't had any need to speak to them in the year I've been with them. More importantly, doesn't anyone else have problems with Orange's coverage? I find the localised 'black holes' to be infuriating...

Possibly related to their GSM 1800 network?

I'd definitely welcome some competition to O2's ridiculous iPhone tariffs though.

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