Which UK network will get Apple's iPhone first?


engadgetiphone.jpgOK, so we now know the iPhone exists. But when will UK punters be able to buy it. It ships in the US in June, but sadly we won’t be able to buy it until Q4 in the UK.

That gives Apple a long time to work on a partner for the handset for Europe.

The big market this summer will be eBay – just imagine how many Europeans will want to import one from the US.

Then Apple may sell a Sim-free version on its UK website and through its retailers. But if it does partner with a UK network here’s the runners and riders.

Vodafone – (Maybe) Although Voda has close links with Verizon, Cingular’s big US rival network, it needs a big hit and there’s no denying that the iPhone will be huge. However I think it will be put off by the fact that the phone is not 3G and not compatible with its music download offering.

Orange – (possible) Has Euro-wide distribution say can offer Jobs and co a lot of potential punters. But see statement below – doesn’t sound good. Has also invested a lot in its music download service and might see the iPhone as muddying the waters.

T-Mobile (The best bet) Again a big Euro-wide network so lots of distribution. Likes to get in quick with high profile phones too. Less concerned about music downloads. So in our book the frontrunner.

O2 (unlikely) I can’t see it, even though it is owned by monster Spanish network Telefonica it probably doesn’t have the reach.

3 (mmm) Wouldn’t have thought so. The iPhone isn’t 3G for starters.

Orange has just issued this statement… Doesn’t sound like it is going to be first in the queue for the phone does it?

“Today’s launch of Apple’s iPhone is another example of how the world of entertainment technology is converging. It reinforces our belief here at Orange that we shall see many more similar moves in the future. We have already seen our own Music Player service grow rapidly in the last year to average 100,000 single downloads per month, with over 500,000 tracks to choose from currently. Apple’s entry into the market will no doubt stimulate even further interest in mobile music services.

“Europe is undergoing a digital revolution and Orange , Apple and other key companies are at the forefront of that. As the technology and entertainment industries merge over the next few years, consumers will be able to do things they previously only ever dreamt of and will be able to access all the services they need from a single provider”

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  • I hope its orange! f*** tmobile with its 9% uk coverage bollocks to o2 (the chavs network), and you can forget vodafone (uk’s biggest rippoff!)
    Orange! orange!!!! orange!!!!!!!

  • Having seen a couple of phone sites (i.e. the ones which actually sell the iPhone) it looks like vodafone and o2 will be on board at launch. Here are some links to have a look at:

    Vodafone and o2 ->


    Vodafone ->


    Loads of sites say that various companies will get the deal but only these (and many others I’m sure) say that they are selling it on o2 and/or vodafone.

    The only problem with this is that they might just be sorting out their offers so that they’ll sell it like a normal handset with a vodafone or o2 sim in the phone. I only say this because the top site sells it (or will be selling it) sim-free as well.

    In which case it’s all a moot point really. Haha.

  • I reckon that 3 will end up getting this phone – what with their recent release of their x-series phones that require high-speed access to the internet. As a carrier – 3 is probably most prepared for the demands of an everyday iPhone.

  • tmobile probably as my friends got an unlocked 1 on tmobile and they work close with cingular

    i personaly hope its orange because orange are a good network bud do have a slight reputation with changing meues and addind useless features

  • Apple are already in talks with Telefonica (O2) to launch the phone exclusively with them. If your desperate for an iphone dont renew your contract at the end of its term.

  • I don’t think your criteria are Apple’s. Look at why they chose Cingular, and not T-Mobile, in the US: 1) Cingular is the biggest GSM in the US, 2) Cingular worked closely with Apple on features. Verizon is not GSM and is famous for disabling features.

    So who are the biggest in the UK (or the EU), and which of those would work with Apple to enable features like the new voicemail?

  • I hereby predict that the network called “3” will be the winning bidder.


    First Apple will have already be down the road in developing a 3g version of the hardware. The reason it was not released in the States is commercial not technological.

    Second 3G networks have failed to make a case. The iPhone could be the first product which really captures the public imagination – and it could win-over new customers to the network. 3 will be wanting this phone.

  • It’s not too suprising that it isn’t 3G for the U.S market. However that would be a real killer in Europe. Let’s hope they can roll it in for a later release. With the price of 3G dropping truly wireless internet is becoming more of an option. Even if it’s the best handset in the world, without decent connnectivity it will still loose out to the more traditional smart phones.

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