iPhone European Networks

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by Hannibales, Jan 11, 2007.

  1. Hannibales macrumors newbie

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    #1
    Anyone know which networks will take on the iPhone in Europe? In the UK the big three are O2 (BT), Orange and Vodafone, so one of those seems likely.
     
  2. mashinhead macrumors 68020

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    Oct 7, 2003
    #2
    cingular was chosen because it was the largest, so... i'm thinking which ever is the largest one there. Because, they

    a. want to sell as many as they can, and increase their chances of doing so

    and

    b. they need an alliance with a network to create and utilize the features like visual voicemail.

    so whatever the largest subscription based network there is, will get most likely get the contract.
     
  3. displaced macrumors 65816

    displaced

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    #3
    I had the luck of being in a meeting with one of O2's Technical Managers the day after the iPhone announcement. Our company uses hundreds of O2 XDA devices, with O2 providing us with a dedicated GRPS APN.

    There were also representatives and coders from the company which produces the middleware we base our software on. These guys were insanely excited about the iPhone. Bear in mind that they've used pretty much every device out there, and they were informally saying the iPhone should do very well in certain markets.

    Anyway, we were chatting with the O2 guy. He'd not seen the device, but we continued talking about the specs. One of the big things from his POV was that the iPhone uses EDGE. O2 do not have an EDGE network in the UK. He said that it was something of a mis-step for O2 to invest heavily in a 3G network and ignore the '2.75G' tech such as EDGE. He said that O2's current concern was reclaiming the money spent on the 3G rollout before considering any EDGE implementation. Currently, the only UK network to offer EDGE nation-wide is Orange (a brand of France Telecom).

    So, unless one of the other networks rolls out EDGE before October(ish), or the iPhone's specs change to support an additional 3G specification, Orange UK is the only UK network to have the infrastructure which the iPhone was designed for.

    (which I wouldn't have a problem with... I'm on Orange and my contract period is over. Just need to make sure my busted-up old K750i lives another 9 months!)

    Edit:

    A few additional thoughts...

    - Vodafone are eyeball-deep in debt. Like O2, they're going to be concerned with reclaiming the investment in their 3G network rather than deploying EDGE. Also, to an even greater extent than O2, they're incredibly controlling regarding the capabilities of their phones. It's not unusual to find a Vodafone mobile unable to use MP3 ringtones in order to force customers to buy from Vodafone's own services.

    - T-Mobile.... could be an interesting one. They've got the money behind them (Deutsche Telekom), plus T-Mobile have expressed their intention to eventually cover all their territories with EDGE, although they're only EDGE-enabled in Germany at the moment.

    - Orange... relatively good finances, and usually very liberal with their phones' abilities - customisation's usually limited to a user-deselectable Orange theme. Their corporate ego is small enough to allow just a little 'orange' symbol much like the 'cingular' one. As I mentioned, Orange has the only full EDGE network in the UK, decent coverage, and has quite a good reputation. Other than the mediocre Orange SPV line of PDA's, Orange hasn't got an established presence in the PDA/smartphone area. iPhone may be a good way to get into that market.
     
  4. babyj macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 29, 2006
    #4
    Unless I missed something, the Orange SPV phones are exactly the same phones as you get on the other UK networks - they are all just re-badged. There might be one or two exclusives but nothing to get real excited about at the moment.
     
  5. babyj macrumors 6502a

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    #5
    O2 isn't owned by BT any more, its owned by Spanish firm Telefonica.

    According to the press, Telefonica have already been in negotiation with Apple over the iPhone so they might be in the driving seat at present.

    Personally I hope its T-Mobile as they've got the best tariffs at present, especially for 3G data - £15 a month gets you 10Gb (I think) and you can use it for VOIP.
     
  6. displaced macrumors 65816

    displaced

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    #6
    You're right... but the devil's in the details :D

    HTC is the maker of these devices, truly named things like 'Alpine', 'Himalaya', Wizard, etc. However, the networks receive varying amounts of support from HTC depending on their agreements. For example, the O2 ROMs have an awful lot of bugfixes and custom functionality (low-level, not end-user) built by HTC and O2, which may not find its way to Orange SPV's.

    (sidenote: the O2/HTC relationship is increasingly frosty, with HTC launching their own branded devices in Asia, competing directly with O2. Note that the next generation of O2 PDAs are in fact Asus devices.)

    ... but 3G charges are irrelevant, since the iPhone does not support 3G. However, it does use EDGE, which (I believe) T-Mobile does not support. So, barring a roll-out of EDGE on T-Mobile UK, if the iPhone arrived on T-M, it'd be bog-standard GPRS only. At the moment (to my knowledge) ONLY Orange provide EDGE in the UK. O2 seem reluctant to invest in EDGE, T-Mobile suggest that it might be implemented at some point... maybe.
     
  7. babyj macrumors 6502a

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    #7
    Well the T-Mobile data tariffs are the same whether its via 3G or not.

    I'm no expert, but from what I've read upgrading to EDGE doesn't involve that much work - just an upgrade in the base stations. Of course, thats a lot of base stations to upgrade but not as expensive as full hardware upgrades.

    Will it be that difficult for Apple to add 3G support though? Its possible the main reason its missing at the moment is simply that Cingular haven't got a wide spread 3G network.
     
  8. displaced macrumors 65816

    displaced

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    #8

    It depends on the hardware running the network. Some cells are newer than others -- some are running on Ericsson gear, some on Nokia. So although EDGE shouldn't be technically difficult, it's still an expense -- one which would have to be justified. As the O2 guy said to me - EDGE is great and we'd love to provide it... but they've just spent £xx billion rolling out 3G with no sign of making money on that... so it's hard to push the case to the purse-string holders for an EDGE deployment.

    I could imagine a European revision of the iPhone supporting UTMS (3G), or the highest class of EDGE which just about nudges into the '3G' speed bracket. Should be interesting to see!
     
  9. NightLord macrumors regular

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    Dec 25, 2005
    #9
    Let me just ask:

    As you know, Pay as you go is hardly used in America, while over here, contracts are used a lot less frequently than pay as you go, so does anyone know what are the odds of iPhone being released on a pay as you go plan over here?
     
  10. displaced macrumors 65816

    displaced

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    #10
    Well, I suppose that a network-exclusive deal doesn't necessarily preclude a PAYG offering. It all depends exactly how much the contract deal subsidises the phone by. Let's imagine the subsidised, contract offering costs £299. If the network subsidy is £300, it might not be economical to offer a PAYG handset for £499-£599 (PAYG handsets are usually subsidised a little lower than contract - 'tho again that's operator-dependent).

    It'll be fascinating to see how Apple deal with the thoroughly different European market, where consumers are used to much more freedom and interoperability than their US counterparts. Also, I would imagine that deals would be negotiated country-by-country. It might be tempting for Apple to deal exclusively with, for example, Vodafone, because of their immense Europe-wide network. However, each operator's network has different capabilities (not to mention wildly different popularity) in different countries.

    Time will tell, I suppose!
     
  11. Compile 'em all macrumors 601

    Compile 'em all

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    #11
    From where did you know that?. That would be great news for...me :D (I use O2).
     
  12. MacBoobsPro macrumors 603

    MacBoobsPro

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    #12
    Remember Steve Jobs said they want to get into 3G too, not just edge. I think they will bully a company into doing what they require. T-Mobile is my bet.
     
  13. 210 macrumors regular

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    #13
    Yay!

    This is the best news I have heard in ages as I'm with Orange!

    If Orange is the only network in the UK with Edge, I doubt the other companies will change their network to incorporate Edge just because the iPhone uses it. The expense doesn't justify it.

    Or, as it's nearly 12 months away, Apple will release a 3G iPhone in which case it's anyone's guess who will have exclusive rights to it.

    Or, different models will be released at that time and all the networks will have some kind of exclusive to it.

    Can you buy a Blackberry or any other kind of smartphone on Pay As You Go? I doubt the iPhone will be.
     
  14. babyj macrumors 6502a

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    #14
    It was reported on a number of legitimate news websites (I think the UK Times was one of them) the day after the iPhone announcement, that Telfonica were already in negotiations with Apple over a European exclusive.

    All of the UK networks have a presence in other major European countries, so I doubt any of them have much of an advantage in that regard - especially as they could quickly and easily do a sub-licensing deal in other countries. Plus they are all very, very big phone companies anyway.
     
  15. whooleytoo macrumors 603

    whooleytoo

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    Cork, Ireland.
    #15
    The big risk in the iPhone for Apple is the fact that the phone's data capabilities (in particular) are heavily dependant on their network partners, and the network's speed, reliability and cost. If the network is too slow, drops a lot or is too expensive it will have a big impact on the 'user experience'.

    Does anyone think it's possible Apple and their network partners will announce a data pricing scheme designed to encourage much higher data usage (such a flat fee per month - now that would be revolutionary!)?
     
  16. displaced macrumors 65816

    displaced

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    #16
    Agree completely!

    Possibly. It'd certainly help break the current malaise that mass-market mobile network data traffic finds itself in. There really isn't a killer app that makes data access a must-have in the same way that SMS texting is. PDA's are pretty much dead beyond geek-esque users and businesses. The web experience is limited and costly compared to what 99% of users are used to on their desktops. Even something as relatively simple as email is cumbersome on smartphones -- the existence of specialist systems such as the Blackberry illustrate this.

    If the iPhone can broaden the demand for data services, we could see some changes in how networks bundle and charge for data services. Fingers crossed, eh? :D
     
  17. babyj macrumors 6502a

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    #17
    T-Mobile have something similar:

    - for £7.50 a month you get 1Gb, no PC or VOIP
    - for £12.50 a month you get 3Gb, no VOIP (PC ok)
    - for £22.50 a month you get 10Gb (PC and VOIP ok)

    Though they define them all as 'unlimited', they have the caps as above and if you go over them they 'may' take action. But I guess they probably wouldn't unless you regularly went over, so the odd monthly spike would be ok.
     
  18. jwkay macrumors member

    jwkay

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    #18
    Norway

    It will be interesting to see how iPhone is released here in Norway.
    We have two national operators (Telenor and NetCom) but also a large number of virtual operators who lease access from Telenor/NetCom.

    Network-exclusive contracts don't exist. Operators subsidise phones to different degrees depending on whether you buy pay-as-you-go or subscription level. But no phone is "only available on this or that network". Its possible an exclusive operator contract would break our tough competition laws. Maximum contract length is 1 year, and a consumer can - for a fee - break out of that and change operator whenever he/she wants. All phones can also be bought freely without subscription (and subsidy, of course).

    So we have a market which looks very different from Apple's US model.
     
  19. iShak macrumors 6502

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    #19
    i think vodafone has a history for being exclusive and posh .. plus they have enough money and resources to make visual voicemail work and land the apple exclusive contract ... (but i hope they dont stamp their logo on iPhone)
     
  20. Counterfit macrumors G3

    Counterfit

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    #20
    Someone might want to tell Ron Dennis that...
     
  21. displaced macrumors 65816

    displaced

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    #21
    Hehe. True. But I wonder if the McLaren deal's costing them less than their previous Ferrari deal? *looks forward to 18th March*

    Actually, my original statement was disingenuous. They posted the largest financial loss in British corporate history last year. Most of that has been corrected by divesting themselves of several operators they'd bought during their rapid expansion. However, they felt quite a lot of pain from paying vast quantities of money for 3G radio spectrum which they're yet to see a decent return on. That's part of the problem - difficult to justify to the board why money should be thrown at an EDGE network when they're still trying to figure out how to make money from 3G.
     
  22. agfrg macrumors newbie

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  23. babyj macrumors 6502a

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    #23
    I've never viewed Vodafone as "exclusive and posh", quite the opposite. I don't think any of them have an image that is going to make any difference to who Apple go with.

    The other three UK networks are all owned by big companies (major telecomm firms in France, Spain and Germany) so I doubt the money will be a problem for them either.
     
  24. polishmacuser macrumors 6502a

    polishmacuser

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    #24
    Well i go to europe alot of course you can see that. I think that it will be orange. I mean isnt it really widely spread. Correct me if im wrong but also dont they suck.
     
  25. jwkay macrumors member

    jwkay

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    #25
    Orange certainly doesn't exist in Scandinavia where only local operators are found. That would be a big market to exclude - 99% of those under 40 and 94% of the whole population in Norway are mobile users. (Netcom survey 2006).

    Looks like the conclusion of this thread is that there simply isn't one operator who covers the whole of Europe... (and some countries don't allow exclusive contracts anyway).
     

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