iPhone provider in the UK

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by iJUNKY, Jan 10, 2007.

  1. iJUNKY macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2006
    Location:
    Belfast, Ireland
    #1
    is it too early to start speculation on who Apple will partner with in the UK?

    I was a bit disapointed that apple has chosen to partner with someone, though it's hard to imagine them offering an integrated product like this without partnering with some service/content provider.

    but surely it means that apple will have to enter into similarly mutual partnerships in every market around the world.

    Out of Orange, Vodafone, T-Mobile, O2, 3 etc who thinks who'll get the job?
    for personal reasons i hope Vodafone will, but i doubt that.
     
  2. emptyCup macrumors 65816

    emptyCup

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2005
    #2
    Who is the largest mobile phone provider in the UK? I would think Apple would look there first.
     
  3. thworple macrumors 6502

    thworple

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    Oct 20, 2005
    Location:
    Sussex, England
    #3
    I believe T-Mobile has the most subscribers in the UK, but not by much. They, O2 and Vodafone all have around 16-17 million contracts. Orange has around 15m. (data from Wikipedia).

    I personally would love Vodafone to get the first contract as I've been with them around 6 years, and would gladly continue with them.

    However, a major stumbling block for any provider in the UK is how the iPhone fits in with each companies outlook in the music download sector, and how the iPhone's technology fits in with each providers own propriety workings, such as the individual WAP/Web portals.

    I guess the only real answer at this time to the OPs question is.... your guess is as good as mine. Could be any of the "big 4" really, but probably not either Virgin or 3 (I think there's a 3G compatibility problem anyway, but that may be resolved for European and Asian markets).
     
  4. Case-sensitive macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2006
    #4
    Whilst I hope that it's Vodaphone, someone on another thread mentioned that Branson may make an offer Jobs can't refuse. It would certainly launch Virgin into the market in a major way.
     
  5. iancapable macrumors 6502

    iancapable

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    Oct 4, 2006
    Location:
    London, United Kingdom
    #5
    From what I know T-Mobile is not the biggest... It's Vodafone (by far) and O2 I think.
     
  6. thworple macrumors 6502

    thworple

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2005
    Location:
    Sussex, England
    #6
    I'm only going on what it said on Wikipedia, so it might not be that accurate, but the point is that there isn't a great deal between the bigger 4 companies. I do know that Vodafone is the biggest mobile communications company in the world, and that it's a British company, but that it doesn't mean that there are more Vodafone subscribers in the UK itself.

    In any case, we'll still have to play a game of wait and see to find out who the first contract will go to.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_mobile_network_operators_of_Europe
     
  7. whooleytoo macrumors 603

    whooleytoo

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    Location:
    Cork, Ireland.
    #7
    Vodafone would be the likliest in terms of size/customers; though Orange are (AFAIK) the only major EDGE provider in the UK. Meteor are upgrading to EDGE in Ireland at the moment.

    I was surprised to read some EDGE implementations (class 4 and above) are actually faster than many 3G networks.
     
  8. Angelus macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2002
    Location:
    New Zealand
    #8
    Well i for one would be surprised if apple partnered with vodafone, given vodafone's penchant for taking every mobile they support and butchering it by uploading their own software.
    Personally I think a partnership with O2 may be more likely. Here in Ireland anyway, o2 and apple seem to have a good partnership with O2 stores selling macs, ipods and software. Seems like a logical progression to me.
    But then again, it may come down to numbers.
     
  9. Zygon Gambit macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 21, 2006
    Location:
    England
    #9
    Does it matter: surely they can just sell their phone from their shops and website. Any company can have it, if they want to offer 'deals'.
     
  10. whooleytoo macrumors 603

    whooleytoo

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2002
    Location:
    Cork, Ireland.
    #10
    I think there are definitely reasons Apple is partnering so closely with Cingular (and will, presumably, with other networks). Apple doesn't want the iPhone experience to be ruined by the network experience.

    To give an example - I bought a 3G phone about a month ago, and wanting to try it out I subscribed for Mobile TV with my network (basically, a dozen or so streamed TV channels, some 'live', others just endless re-runs of documentary shorts etc., works ok though connection stalls a lot); for 5 euros a week including all data charges.

    Supposedly.

    This month I received a 300 euro bill, and though I'm challenging it I don't fancy my chances. That's more than I paid for the phone! While I'll almost certainly buy an iPhone when it comes out here, I won't be touching Safari/Mail/Google Maps if the rip-off here continues!
     
  11. gavd macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2006
    #11
    I wonder if they'll partner with anyone over here. They've partnered with Cingular to develop the phone etc, but will they necessarily need to partner with anyone over here if the development is already done?

    I guess I don't really believe that will be the case though and I'm guessing they'll partner with someone.

    The point has been raised above about Vodafone wanting to put their own software on phones. I think Orange do this as well so I'm not sure it would be them. Guess we'll just have to wait and see.
     
  12. 4np macrumors 6502a

    4np

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2005
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    #12
    I think you should not speculate who will be the partner in the UK; I think you should speculate who will Apple partner with in Europe. I think it will be one of the major cellular providers like Orange, Vodafone or T-mobile.

    [​IMG]
    Purple: Vodafone
    Orange: Vodafone's partners
    Red: Vodafone's affiliates
    read more here

    Of these three Vodafone (and partners/affiliates) has the largest coverage.
     
  13. mhuk01 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2006
    Location:
    South West England
    #13
    i see your point about o2, but i think it will come for more than one network

    this will hopefully include vodafone! at the end of the day its gonna be such a sought after product that all the networks will do what apple tell them!

    phoned vodafone today and asked when they'd be getting the iPhone lol!
    She said 'i'll just check for you', came back and said 'towards the end of the year but we'll be able to tell you a month before it hits the shelves so keep phoning!'
     
  14. iJUNKY thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2006
    Location:
    Belfast, Ireland
    #14
    i think that maybe partnering with apple would make vodafone or orange drop their demand to upload their sh*te onto the iphone.

    surely they HAVE to partner with someone. from the keynote it sounds like a long term thing with cingular - that makes sense if they are going to provide more services in the future.

    so the same in the UK, the service provider will have to provide a distinct service for the iphone.

    the more i think about it the messier it gets. for example say apple introduce some really cool feature in the future, and cingular develop their service to accomodate. Apple are going to have to make all their other partners around the world agree to provide the same service - otherwise you come to the situation where some functions are available to US owners of the iphone and not the rest of the world. I think it might be tricky to get all these different companies to agree to the same thing.

    thats also the reason I think that the iphone will have to be locked to the one network (unless, in the future, all the other networks become compliant) because of the importance a close relationship between hardware and service.
    EDIT
    maybe ur right, i didn't realise the extent of vodafone's network, that would make the most sense.
     
  15. whooleytoo macrumors 603

    whooleytoo

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2002
    Location:
    Cork, Ireland.
    #15
    I think the network providers could well be falling over each other to get the exclusive contract here. It's a 'self-hyping' gadget that'll be snapped up by thousands of customers eager to use its (high margin generating) data capabilities.
     
  16. mhuk01 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2006
    Location:
    South West England
    #16
    lets just hope its not an exclusive provider, otherwise i have like a 1 in 4 chance of an iPhone! Seems a bit unfair to me if the chances of being able to have this phone are down to luck...
     
  17. thequicksilver macrumors 6502a

    thequicksilver

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2004
    Location:
    Birmingham
    #17
    FWIW, Vodafone is the largest in the UK, followed by Orange, O2 and T-Mobile.

    It must be remembered that our mobile phone culture is significantly more developed than that in the US right now. The whole "exclusive to a network" thing while not unheard of is certainly less common than over there, especially for a flagship model which the iPhone would be.

    I'd also like to suggest that unlike in the US, where Apple is a real cultural name with history and gravitas, I can't see the non-UK networks bowing to Apple in terms of upgrading their network just for them. Look at it this way - why should they?

    At this price, it's absolutely not a mass-market phone (and won't be for 12-18 months). I sincerely doubt that Apple will allow the phone to be branded, which means that the phone won't be subsidised. The phone is cool, definitely. But can you ever see something like this coming down to be a £100 PAYG model like, say, the RAZR did? I know I can't. Future models will be mass market I'm sure - can anyone say iPhone nano? - but this model is clearly designed for supercession, not trickling down the price spectrum like other models do.

    Apple to the UK mass market isn't the pioneer it's seen as by the US, and us Mac users here are strictly in the minority. Apple's early successes in the computer business were pretty much confined to the US - we were more interested in the Commodore 64, Sinclair Spectrum in the early days, let's not forget. Until the iPod, Apple has never been a mainstream brand in the UK, merely "just another niche computer maker". I'm not sure the networks will be so keen to adapt to match Apple's technology. For Cingular in the US, it's a risk worth taking - Apple's brand historically has the kudos to pull it off. But to the UK market, it's going to be a niche phone from the people that made the iPod. So what?

    So, my half-arsed analysis over, here's my prediction: the iPhone will make it onto most, if not all of the major networks, with perhaps one of them getting a 3-6 month exclusive period. The phone will ship without some of the features that would require network change, notably visual voicemail. Oh, and we'll see a stupid price conversion - I'm guessing £349.

    NB: opinion, subjective, conjecture, etc.

    If I'm wrong though, and it did have an exclusive carrier, I'd bank on Orange doing everything possible to get a European deal. They just seem to be the most interested in style, from their minimalist branding to their stylish stores, contrasting wildly with the likes of Vodafone. With knowledge of the French market too, Orange's brand is significantly more developed than SFR (linked with Vodafone) and Bouygues (cheap'n'crap brand owned by a building entrepreneur). A flagship exclusive like this would seem to be a perfect fit for them.
     

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