iPhone to come to 3UK (probably)

by Ben Smith on 2nd November 2009

  Comment Icon29

In an exclusive announcement to TechRadar (which, bizarrely, has not been followed with much detail), Kevin Russell CEO of 3UK has announced that 3 will also be carrying the iPhone in the UK in 2010.

The iPhone on 3UK: Aiming for 2010, but 3 won't "rely on it" to attract customers

The iPhone on 3UK: Aiming for 2010, but 3 won't "rely on it" to attract customers

Speaking at at a recent event he said:

“The reason we haven’t stocked many smartphones is we were [prioritising building our customer base], which is 180 degrees different to the other networks. They’ve gone down the smartphone route first, but we want smartphones on top of millions of customers. But you will see us moving more into smartphones during 2010.”

“We like the way we’ve come through to a position where we could stock the iPhone, but it’s not a product we have to rely on.”

Although Orange (launching 10th November) and Vodafone (early 2010) will both have beaten 3 to the launch, this announcement will mean that the iPhone 3GS will be available through all of the big operators (assuming T-Mobile and Orange’s merger is OK-ed) before the end of next year.

At last. Hooray.

It’s also likely to signal the beginning of some price competition over the device, which is even better news…  Whilst Orange and Vodafone have both hinted that they’ll be aiming to match O2′s current pricing, 3 have always been more aggressive in this respect with their tariffs and will be hoping to attract those previously put off an iPhone by cost.  Their extensive 3G network, which and increasing focus on offering data-centric products may also attract some of those frustrated by O2′s relatively poor performance in this area.

I’m delighted to see 3 adding a number of desirable top-end devices to their range – the iPhone, HTC Hero, Nokia N86 and Huawei MiFi are all class-leading devices now announced by 3 and will go a long way to shaking off the ‘low rent, poor choice’ criticisms beset them in their early days…  However, I hope they can up their customer-service game to meet the needs of the more demanding customers these devices will attract too.

  • Mike42

    What – the N95 8GB isn’t a smartphone? The E71 isn’t a smartphone? The SEM W950i isn’t a smartphone? Heck – the N73, waaaaay back in the good old X-Series days – that wasn’t a smartphone?
    These were all ‘class-leading’ in their time.

    ppfffft….

  • http://benjam.in Ben Smith

    But they were release one at a time, late relative to other carriers (in many cases) and crippled with non-updated firmware (with plenty of bugs). My comment relates to having a range and choice of current devices.

    …and who said this was about smartphones?

  • Mike42

    “desirable top-end devices”

    I’d say all the ones I listed fitted that bill.

    Late to other carriers – early N95′s had a massive return rate. I remember the discussions. It sometimes makes sense to wait a while (but not too long) so you don’t launch a lemon. Those carriers who did bang out the N95 early to be like the others paid a high consumer price for geek/mobile media appeasal.

    The ‘low rent’ angle must be wearing thin by now – how long is it since the early 3G handset days? (Handsets which, contrary to popular belief, were anything but low-rent. Think eye-wateringly expensive [to 3] more like).

  • http://benjam.in Ben Smith

    Oh come on Mike…. Yes they were all desirable, but each one was the *only* decent handset offered at the time. That was my point. Not criticising the handsets themselves.

    Consumers don’t care about the difficulties for operators in launching devices – they want to walk into a store and see an entire wall covered in the latest devices they’ve seen advertised or that their friends have… Crap? Yes. Shallow? Yes. Fact? Sadly, yes.

    I agree the low-rent angle is unjustified now – but it’s an image that’s been created and it’s difficult to dispel in people’s minds. I hear it repeated frequently… it’s even the basis for a 10 minute routine by Alan Carr which I saw on TV last night.

  • Mike42

    Seen the Alan Carr skit – it’s pretty good stuff (albeit rather out of date – but then many of us are ;-)

    Anyway, enough defence of 3UK. iPhone on a real 3G network. Gimmegimmegimme!

  • Mike42

    What – the N95 8GB isn't a smartphone? The E71 isn't a smartphone? The SEM W950i isn't a smartphone? Heck – the N73, waaaaay back in the good old X-Series days – that wasn't a smartphone?These were all 'class-leading' in their time.ppfffft….

  • Mike42

    What – the N95 8GB isn't a smartphone? The E71 isn't a smartphone? The SEM W950i isn't a smartphone? Heck – the N73, waaaaay back in the good old X-Series days – that wasn't a smartphone?

    These were all 'class-leading' in their time.

    ppfffft….

  • http://benjam.in Ben Smith

    But they were release one at a time, late relative to other carriers (in many cases) and crippled with non-updated firmware (with plenty of bugs). My comment relates to having a range and choice of current devices….and who said this was about smartphones?

  • http://benjam.in Ben Smith

    But they were release one at a time, late relative to other carriers (in many cases) and crippled with non-updated firmware (with plenty of bugs). My comment relates to having a range and choice of current devices.

    …and who said this was about smartphones?

  • Mike42

    “desirable top-end devices”I'd say all the ones I listed fitted that bill.Late to other carriers – early N95's had a massive return rate. I remember the discussions. It sometimes makes sense to wait a while (but not too long) so you don't launch a lemon. Those carriers who did bang out the N95 early to be like the others paid a high consumer price for geek/mobile media appeasal.The 'low rent' angle must be wearing thin by now – how long is it since the early 3G handset days? (Handsets which, contrary to popular belief, were anything but low-rent. Think eye-wateringly expensive [to 3] more like).

  • Mike42

    “desirable top-end devices”

    I'd say all the ones I listed fitted that bill.

    Late to other carriers – early N95's had a massive return rate. I remember the discussions. It sometimes makes sense to wait a while (but not too long) so you don't launch a lemon. Those carriers who did bang out the N95 early to be like the others paid a high consumer price for geek/mobile media appeasal.

    The 'low rent' angle must be wearing thin by now – how long is it since the early 3G handset days? (Handsets which, contrary to popular belief, were anything but low-rent. Think eye-wateringly expensive [to 3] more like).

  • http://benjam.in Ben Smith

    Oh come on Mike…. Yes they were all desirable, but each one was the *only* decent handset offered at the time. That was my point. Not criticising the handsets themselves.Consumers don't care about the difficulties for operators in launching devices – they want to walk into a store and see an entire wall covered in the latest devices they've seen advertised or that their friends have… Crap? Yes. Shallow? Yes. Fact? Sadly, yes.I agree the low-rent angle is unjustified now – but it's an image that's been created and it's difficult to dispel in people's minds. I hear it repeated frequently… it's even the basis for a 10 minute routine by Alan Carr which I saw on TV last night.

  • http://benjam.in Ben Smith

    Oh come on Mike…. Yes they were all desirable, but each one was the *only* decent handset offered at the time. That was my point. Not criticising the handsets themselves.

    Consumers don't care about the difficulties for operators in launching devices – they want to walk into a store and see an entire wall covered in the latest devices they've seen advertised or that their friends have… Crap? Yes. Shallow? Yes. Fact? Sadly, yes.

    I agree the low-rent angle is unjustified now – but it's an image that's been created and it's difficult to dispel in people's minds. I hear it repeated frequently… it's even the basis for a 10 minute routine by Alan Carr which I saw on TV last night.

  • Mike42

    Seen the Alan Carr skit – it's pretty good stuff (albeit rather out of date – but then many of us are ;-)Anyway, enough defence of 3UK. iPhone on a real 3G network. Gimmegimmegimme!

  • Mike42

    Seen the Alan Carr skit – it's pretty good stuff (albeit rather out of date – but then many of us are ;-)

    Anyway, enough defence of 3UK. iPhone on a real 3G network. Gimmegimmegimme!

  • jamesbody

    I think that the H3G handset team are doing extremely well when you consider that they have less purchasing power than the other networks. They have managed to secure the Blackberry Bold, HTC Hero, Nokia N97 and N86 (and previously the wonderful E71). In addition to this they have given us the Huawei MiFo (at a stupendous prive of GBP 49.99 on PAYG) and the superbly cost engineered INQ handsets with embedded Skype/Facebook/Live!/Twitter.

    f only their customer support/retentions were a bit better – perhaps I would not have had to wait until today to upgrade my top-of-the-rage 3 account to a new HTC Hero. Even now, they were unable to offer me the superb Spotify bundle – ‘I don’t have a code option for that on my screen’

    I look forward with great anticipation to see what INQ can do with Android! As for the iPhone – for many users the iPod Touch + MiFi combo offers an excellent and very affordable alternative to the hideously overpriced iPhone deals that are on offer from the big MNOs. (Did you see that the Orange iPhone contracts appear to come with an AUP of 500 MB of data? I do about 10 times this on my iPhone!)

  • http://twitter.com/jamesbody James Body

    I think that the H3G handset team are doing extremely well when you consider that they have less purchasing power than the other networks. They have managed to secure the Blackberry Bold, HTC Hero, Nokia N97 and N86 (and previously the wonderful E71). In addition to this they have given us the Huawei MiFo (at a stupendous prive of GBP 49.99 on PAYG) and the superbly cost engineered INQ handsets with embedded Skype/Facebook/Live!/Twitter.f only their customer support/retentions were a bit better – perhaps I would not have had to wait until today to upgrade my top-of-the-rage 3 account to a new HTC Hero. Even now, they were unable to offer me the superb Spotify bundle – 'I don't have a code option for that on my screen' <Scream>I look forward with great anticipation to see what INQ can do with Android! As for the iPhone – for many users the iPod Touch + MiFi combo offers an excellent and very affordable alternative to the hideously overpriced iPhone deals that are on offer from the big MNOs. (Did you see that the Orange iPhone contracts appear to come with an AUP of 500 MB of data? I do about 10 times this on my iPhone!)

  • http://twitter.com/jamesbody James Body

    I think that the H3G handset team are doing extremely well when you consider that they have less purchasing power than the other networks. They have managed to secure the Blackberry Bold, HTC Hero, Nokia N97 and N86 (and previously the wonderful E71). In addition to this they have given us the Huawei MiFo (at a stupendous prive of GBP 49.99 on PAYG) and the superbly cost engineered INQ handsets with embedded Skype/Facebook/Live!/Twitter.

    f only their customer support/retentions were a bit better – perhaps I would not have had to wait until today to upgrade my top-of-the-rage 3 account to a new HTC Hero. Even now, they were unable to offer me the superb Spotify bundle – 'I don't have a code option for that on my screen' <Scream>

    I look forward with great anticipation to see what INQ can do with Android! As for the iPhone – for many users the iPod Touch + MiFi combo offers an excellent and very affordable alternative to the hideously overpriced iPhone deals that are on offer from the big MNOs. (Did you see that the Orange iPhone contracts appear to come with an AUP of 500 MB of data? I do about 10 times this on my iPhone!)

  • http://www.jobsunday.com Jobs

    I think iPhone is so cool.

  • http://www.jobsunday.com Jobs

    Great sharing. It’s a benefit for me

  • http://www.jobsunday.com Jobs

    I think iPhone is so cool.

  • http://www.jobsunday.com Jobs

    I think iPhone is so cool.

  • http://www.jobsunday.com Jobs

    Great sharing. It's a benefit for me

  • http://www.jobsunday.com Jobs

    Great sharing. It's a benefit for me

  • Pingback: My Phone of the Year « The Really Mobile Project

  • Nicholas

    It would be great for the complete Apple Iphone range to come to 3 UK and would be delighted to extend my contract with 3 when this happens.

    It is strange that 3 hasn’t already taken on board the Iphone,you’d think a mobile network would do everything it can to boost customer numbers. There is even a Facebook group recently set up ‘Bring the Iphone to 3UK’. So it is wanted!

  • Nicholas

    It would be great for the complete Apple Iphone range to come to 3 UK and would be delighted to extend my contract with 3 when this happens. It is strange that 3 hasn't already taken on board the Iphone,you'd think a mobile network would do everything it can to boost customer numbers. There is even a Facebook group recently set up 'Bring the Iphone to 3UK'. So it is wanted!

  • Nicholas

    It would be great for the complete Apple Iphone range to come to 3 UK and would be delighted to extend my contract with 3 when this happens.

    It is strange that 3 hasn't already taken on board the Iphone,you'd think a mobile network would do everything it can to boost customer numbers. There is even a Facebook group recently set up 'Bring the Iphone to 3UK'. So it is wanted!

  • Pingback: 3UK iPad SIMs beat the rest on contract tariffs | The Really Mobile Project

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