Phones 4U this morning confirmed it will join Carphone Warehouse in selling iPhones on the high street for Apple’s now two iPhone carriers, Orange and O2. This suggests models from Vodafone may also be made available when the device also reaches that network next year.
In related news, Orange this morning confirmed it’s engaged in a massive upgrade push to support the iPhone on its network when it ships. "We have been really busy getting ready for this," said UK vice president of sales and loyalty Guillaume van Gaver told Mobile News.
Orange has 93 percent UK coverage on its UK 3G network, and the company is investing heavily in the network to provide support for the iPhone.
An interesting nugget from the Mobile News report: “Van Gaver explained Apple iPhone applications require "short, sharp bursts" of data usage, unlike the kind of web browsing most other mobile phones have traditionally been utilised for, which require a sustained data stream. Orange has worked to make its network run better for these bursts of data traffic, he said.”
The carrier is engaged in extensive consultation with engineers in territories it already carries the iPhone in, has begun training staff for iPhone sales and is preparing a “third-party training programme” to support the device.
Meanwhile, Phones 4U this morning issued the following statement on the affair, “Phones 4u is pleased to announce that it will be selling the Apple iPhone range with Orange and O2. Contracts will be available to Phones 4u customers in store and online.”
Brendan Sweeney, Phones 4u Managing Director said: "We are very pleased to be partnering with both Orange and O2 to sell the iPhone. Recognised for our in depth understanding of the youth market and their needs, our knowledgeable and skilled staff are in a strong position to introduce the Apple iPhone to our Phones 4u customer base.
“Phones 4u believes that the role of the independent mobile retailer is to provide consumers with choice across networks and handsets. The iPhone will complement Phones 4u’s market leading product range and offer greater choice to our customers."
However, hopes for a price war between the operators were dashed in a later statement from Orange’s van Gaver, who said: "We are aiming at being price competitive, but we are not going to start a price war over this device. We want to be competitive and we are fine tuning our offer."