O2 gasps as Orange land the iPhone 3GS

In there Summer there were all manner of rumours concerning the iPhone; specifically, that O2 would lose exclusivity and that both Orange and T-Mobile would pick up the 3G handset to sell, although O2 were expected to retain rights to the newer 3GS. It was more than a rumour according to trade publications - we found this feature in a copy of Mobile Today:

But today Orange have confirmed they will be selling the iPhone 3GS, massively diminishing O2's clout in the market. Obviously T-Mobile haven't announced they're picking the handset up, since they're merging with Orange anyway. There are no pricing details or even a release date yet, just a tantalising page on the Orange website for you to register your interest:

Bitterwallet - iPhone 3GS on Orange

Last week O2 confirmed a UK launch date the Palm Pre, with a near-identical pricing plan to the iPhone 3GS. That O2 secured the Palm Pre in the first place raised eyebrows - how long have O2 been aware that their reign as king of the iPhone has been coming to an end?


  • Craig
    thank god for that! my 3g contract is up in Jan and I cannot wait to bail from o2. the way they've treated iPhone users with extremely poor customer service and their crap network i'm surprised apple didn't open up the iPhone to other networks sooner.
  • Smarky
    Finally there will be the iPhone on a decent traff that actually allows you to send texts, 500 is not enough for a £35 a month contract o2!!! Been looking for a phone for the past few months, deffo holding off till pricing is announced on this! !
  • 02
    Crap customer service? They are THE best in the business - IMO. I was with Orange and left early, paid the contract off. At least one is able to speak to someone whom can understand us - with Orange, your connected to India. Network... again are you serious? I've had the 3G and now the 3GS and I can't complain. I really can't. Theres never been a situation where i've not had coverage. I guess each to their own.
  • Rob B.
    Nice timing, moved one of my 2 O2 contracts to Orange already as the upgrade offers were awful plus 3G coverage is better where I am on Orange so looks like I'll move my other over as well. Lets hope they don't kill the OS with Orange branding like they always do, I'm guessing Apple won't let them though :-D
  • Paul S.
    Smarky - once you're out of contract, it might be worth sticking with O2 and looking at the SIMplicity deals. Sign up to a 12 month contract, and you'll get 800 minutes and 1600 texts, and a free bolt-on (which can include unlimited web access) for £20 a month - plus there's currently £100 cashback through Quidco. That works out at under £12 per month for an iPhone :)
  • PAul S.
    @Paul Smith what hadseat comes with this deal?
  • Junkyard
    Let's hope this causes a bit of a price drop, I might finally have to give in and buy one. I really don't want to, but the other handset manufacturers have had two years to catch up with the iPhone interface and failed miserably, so maybe it's time to quit waiting.
  • Wilko
    I currently have 5 mobile phone contracts (2 for work purposes for me and my wife, 2 personal contracts for me and my wife, and 1 contract that expires next month and will be cancelled). Of those 5, 2 are on O2 (iPhones), 1 is on Vodafone, 1 on Three, and 1 on Orange. All of the networks are pretty crap if I am honest, but of the 3 the best one is definately O2. Orange come second, Vodafone third and 3 are the worst. I think the networks need to take a long hard look at the quality of the service that they offer. The network of all the major players is actually worse now than it was 3 or 4 years ago.
  • me
    Ive got a huge cex voucher for some stuff that was worthless to me so thinking of getting an 3g iphone from cex, the question is - should i get one locked to o2 (grade A is the same price as a new one from o2 anyway!) or unlocked for an extra £60 and only grade B? Personally Im thinking unlocked, but the deal Paul has mentioned for a sim only on 02 sounds quite good.
  • Matt B.
    @Paul Smith Thanks for that shout, I'm coming to the end of my iPhone 3G contract, might look that up if the Orange deals aren't all that. Still want a 3GS though.
  • Paul S.
    To answer the earlier question, no handset comes with the SIMplicity deal - it's SIM only, which is why it's very handy if you're out of contract on an iPhone. £11.67 a month (inc. Quidco) for a very generous minutes and text allowance plus unlimited web access is a corking deal.
  • Junkyard
    @ Paul Smith - £12 per month for an iPhone sounds excellent, apart from the part about not getting an iPhone with it. Here's a deal for you: totally free iPhone on pay as you go! * * iPhone not included
  • Joe S.
    @ Junkyard "Smarky – once you’re out of contract," The point is, once the 18 months are up, you could switch to the SIM only deal and save quite a bit. Maybe do some reading first before making yourself look silly :)
  • Paul S.
    Good lad, Junkyard. Jog on.
  • bykergrove
    why the hell do you need more than 500 texts? o2 is easliy the best for service and reception. orange is pants, tmobile is worse and vodaphone i have never tried. my next phone will be the HTC Leo or SE X3..... I wish they are on O2!
  • Junkyard
    @ Paul Smith: you said "That works out at under £12 per month for an iPhone". It doesn't. Jog on yerself. @ Joe Smith: do some reading before making *yourself* look silly. :)
  • Dai G.
    Whey, i have been waiting for this news for quite a while. Hopefully, this will mean a bit more sensible pricing when it comes to getting the iPhone. Cheers for the heads up Paul.
  • applesux
    Apple Iphone ... BLAH BLAH BLAH¬
  • Paul S.
    @ Junkyard - yeah, you seem to be quoting me while completely ignoring the context and the opening sentence of my comment.
  • Junkyard
    @Paul Smith - and your comment to Smarky makes perfect sense in context, when he said he's "been looking for a phone for the past few months". :) But thanks for the tip anyway, sounds like a great deal for anyone who already has a decent handset.
  • me
    is the o2 simplicity offer mentioned on hukd at all? havent used quidco but from what you are saying they pay around £100???
  • me
    lol ignore me, found it. http://www.hotukdeals.com/item/478584/its-back-02-12-month-sim-contract-8 if anyones interested/hadnt seen it before!
  • Smarky
    @bykergrove It's very easy to go over 500 texts a month. I don't want to have to pay out to partly buy the phone and then be stuck in a 35 month a contract and then get a phone bill afterwards as well, that is crazy. Even if i use 1000 texts, assuming 10p per text that would be another 50 per month. Just using that as an example, I know you could get it cheap but still... don't see why i should have to pay more just to use it, why do the iPhone deals have less texts than normal traffifs of that price? 500 is not a lot of texts, 17 texts a day is a lot? pffft.
    Anyone think o2 will unlock handsets now its not a o2 exclusive? I believe vodafone and o2 unlock all handsets for free now providing they are not network-exclusives.
  • The B.
    Who'd want an iPhone? My 3G breaks every time there's an Apple update, contract's up in December so I'm off to Android, it's the way forward.
  • Mike U.
    Unlocking an iPhone is piece of cake, head over to www.iclarified.com for instructions They also have videos for the really stupid people
  • Junkyard
    @ Smarky - the iPhone tariffs are more expensive because Apple prices the iPhone higher than other manufacturers do with comparable handsets, so the networks have to extort extra money from customers to claw back their usual vast profits. It's that or charge for the handset up front, but that tends to scare people off - they're happy to pay a vast amount for their phone over 18 months, but not with a one-off payment. Of course, once the contract's over and the phone's paid for you're back to normal tariff pricing, but by then there'll be a shiny new iPhone to tempt you.
  • Smarky
    @junkyard that's nonsense when it comes to the amount of texts included in the package, look at the pre for example, 02 have it on the same deal £35 a month and only 500 texts.
  • Pizza_D_Action
    Android FTW!
  • Tom
    @Mike Unt - Cunning name! Anyway, those guides are useless at present. Apple will no longer sign 3.0 firmware, and must be 3.1. So unlocking a existing 3GS is nigh on impossible at present, unless already unlocked. But cannot upgrade to 3.1 @Paul Smith - Job for you. With the other networks being able to offer the iphone too. Will this put O2 into a position where they should, legally, provide you with a network unlock code if you've seved out your sentence ... erm I mean contract!? I for one would love to legally unlock my handset, so that I can move it onto T-Mobile where I get decent WebNWalk data usage (just dont take it aboad!!!!).
  • Paul S.
    Tom - T-Mobile is shortly going to be Orange anyway, but it's a good question. If nobody else pipes up the answer, I'll see if I can find out.
    Paul I asked the same question earlier - go find out please? hehe. Mine's unlocked for vodafone, but only using ultrasn0w. I'd like a proper unlock.
  • veedubjai
    Be advise everyone that the inclusive 500 text allowance on iPhone Pay Monthly tariffs can be used while roaming abroad but takes 4 units for every SMS or MMS sent. Can other UK mobile networks offer this? O2 network Customer Services are based in UK. O2 network have the best Customer Service compare to other UK mobile network as industry awards dictate this. The reason behind why there are only 500 text allowance on iPhone Pay Monthly tariffs is because O2 network decided that iPhone handset was primary designed & targetted as multimedia device hence have one of the biggest touchscreens handsets on the market hence added the O2 Unlimited Web Bolt On & O2 Unlimited WiFi Bolt On free of charge to allow data usage. These 2 Bolt On's alone cost £15.00 togther on top of the iPhone voice tariff. Where do you expect O2 to generate income from. If you really extra text allowance then why don't you ask O2 network as it is an extra £7.50 for O2 Unlimited Text Bolt On that you need. Remember, you are buying a Apple product hence their is a premium for the best handset on the market. Try comparing the cost of a PC to a Apple Mac, then you will know why Apple products are so expensive. All Pay Monthly contracts are subsidising the cost of these handsets. O2 network do not charge you monthly interest to buy the handset on credit hence the lengthy term contracts. Do you think Nokia will design/produce a handset for free & sell it to O2 network for nothing? Get real & live in the real world. You wouldn't work for free or peanuts, will you? Even on the secondhand market they fetch a high price compare to other mobile make which is a clear indicator that most customers know their stuff but on some occasions try to pull a fast one & expects a discount on iPhone handsets when they call through to O2 Customer Services.
  • Brian
    Hi, Brian here. I love my iPhone.
  • Bill B.
    Hi Brian. Tell Stewie I said hi.
  • Vodafone B.
    [...] point, they may not have been expecting the extent to which the market will fragment. Yesterday, Orange announced they would be selling the new 3GS handset before Christmas – today Vodafone have announced they have secured rights to sell the Jesus [...]
  • Orange i.
    Will existing handsets be able to use PAYG sims? I already have a 2g iPhone but wonder if I can then donate it to a child with a prepay sim??
  • Pasty B.
    My ipod device 1G is a important iPod, Personal digital assistant and a whole lot more, and even has also been from the moment I found it. It also function the up-to-date iPod system software program, and any app I want it to operate. I'm using it to post this comment right now. I would point out it is a lot more as compared with simply just an "excellent hobbyist system" -- it is really an great iPod

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