That is how many O2 reported on the first day of iPhone sales. To put that into perspective, Apple sold 270,000 iPhones in the first weekend in the US. At that point it was an untested product. All of the reviews, mostly positive, have come in and have been taken in by British consumers.
Of course, there are a lot fewer people in the UK than in the US – probably about 1/5th. The weather was also rainy on the day of the opening – which wasn’t a help either (not that the UK is known for its great climate).
There are obviously a lot of hacked iPhones that have trickled into Europe over the last 3 months. That may account for some of the "opening day types" who went abroad and brought them back or bought them from ebay or other unauthorized resellers. The US models, which are reportedly the exact same hardware, cost much less before activation than their European counterparts.
Also there are many in the UK who have bought an iPod Touch over the past few months – which could be cannibalizing sales to a degree.
Then there is the 3G issue.
Incidentally, Tmobile reported 10,000 activations on their first day of sales in Germany. Combined, the 18,000 activations so far tallied in Europe probably aren’t cause for celebration or concern yet for Apple.
We are looking forward to see how France does selling the unlocked iPhone later this month.