Big news for iPhone cravers in the UK, as a report this morning claims O2’s exclusive claim to offer the device will time out on October 9, freeing other networks up to offer the must-have device for sale here.
Mobile Entertainment is claiming to have seen documentation, “that states it (exclusivity) will end officially on October 9.” This comes after weeks of chatter claiming other networks are vying to add the iPhone to their roster of available mobiles.
One limitation of the time out may be that O2 will continue to offer the iPhone 3GS exclusively in the UK, leaving the cheaper and less well-featured iPhone 3G for sale by competing operators.
O2 signed its original deal with Apple in late 2007, and is believed to have the rights to sell iPhone to 2012.
As reported last week, The Guardian revealed comments from Vodafone CFO, Andy Halford, who said, “It’s a good product and we would love to have it in the portfolio in more countries.” His comments came after weeks of speculation Orange and T-Mobile are also in the frame to get in on the iPhone deal.
T-Mobile has even begun offering a very limited quantity of iPhones (sourced outside of the UK) to high-spending customers who threaten to quit its network.
Adding further grist to the mill, the Apple/AT&T relationship continues to attract criticism. AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson set tongues wagging recently when he revealed that “there will be a day when you are not exclusive with the iPhone.”
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