All change in the UK: Orange announces iPhone 3G/3GS agreement

Change has come to the UK mobile industry.

For a long, long time, if you wanted to buy an iPhone, you had to buy it through exclusive supplier, o2. End of story.

Whilst this made a certain amount of sense to the geeky few (“Well, obviously, they bent over the most for Apple, right?”), it has been a source of continual ire for your average normob (“normal mobile user”).

Not a week has gone by when I haven’t met a normob who’s talked about the iPhone and who’s stated that their *number one* reason for *not getting one* is because it’s on o2.

“Just swap networks,” I’ve prompted.

The response has invariably been something like:

– “No, I like [operator name] too much.”
– “No, that’s such a hassle.”
– “No, I’ve been with [operator name] for years and…”

The average normob has been highly, highly frustrated by the exclusivity agreement.

There is, therefore, a substantial amount of pent-up demand from an array normob segments. Indeed, some operator-owned research that I’ve seen has shown a rather staggering amount of 30-50-quid-a-month normobs ready and willing to splash out for the iPhone experience, just as soon as their operator offers it.

“There’s an app for that,” and the fancy iPhone television adverts (that, to my continual amazement, don’t *actually* advertise the iPhone any more — instead, focusing on the available apps) continue to do their job.

Too often has one of these target normobs had to sit in the pub whilst the joker-in-the-pack show-off (or, a mobile geek like you and I) has got out their iPint app and, after a sufficient amount of preening to build demand and bolster the ego, tipped it back to their mouth in a drinking motion, educating and enlightening the baying masses clutching their — let’s be honest — bollocks handsets.

Orange have announced that they will, in due course, bring the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS to their customers, later this year.

There is no information on pricing, tariffs and availability as yet.

But there is a pre-registration site for customers wanting to be amongst the first to own an official UK Orange iPhone.

(The Orange Group, of course, aren’t new to iPhone. This latest announcement takes them to a total of 28 countries in which they offer the iPhone!)

Head over here to register your interest:

Nice one Orange!

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

54 replies on “All change in the UK: Orange announces iPhone 3G/3GS agreement”

I moved from Orange having been with them for 15 plus years. I kept asking if there was any chance that Orange would bid for iPhone contract.

I am now with O2 and hate it….reception is terrible/ customer service is not a patch on Orange. I hope i can move back but probably have to wait till my 2 year contract O2 is over!

I don't think any network should hold phones exclusively!

About time too! It's not just that Orange service is better than O2 ~we have no O2 coverage at home at all as we found out after buying an iphone from O2!The hassle we had to get them to cancel………!

pffft – HTC Hero kicks iPhone's backside and is already on Orange. All the iPhone sheep who have seen my Hero have gagged at the amount they've shelled out up-front and their massive monthly bills in comparison.

Seriously folks, go Hero.

So as a T-Mobile customer (who left Orange a year ago in disgust, DISGUST I say…) should I transfer back, or will it eventually be available to me when France Telecom swallow T-Mobile?

There's the contract issue Rob — but I'm sure Orange would be delighted to have you back. T-Mobile have already been giving out iPhones to some of their high spending customers in order to retain them — and once the integration is done, I'm sure they'll also offer it officially. But that might be a little while!

The HTC Hero isn't necessarily a poorman's bad copy of the iPhone but I get where you're coming from TWWW. There's quite a gulf between the HTC and the iPhone, even today. But that gulf is narrowing with every HTC release and Android update.

The HTC Hero isn't necessarily a poorman's bad copy of the iPhone but I get where you're coming from TWWW. There's quite a gulf between the HTC and the iPhone, even today. But that gulf is narrowing with every HTC release and Android update.

The Hero is one device on the Android platform. It has some nice UI flourishes but also has some unfortunate software bugs at the moment. I have owned an iPhone and used the 2.0 + OS variants which were not without their problems. Brian Fling, a noted US mobile development company recently described the 3.1 iPhone OS as by far the worst yet.
I am also lucky enough to have a G1 which has, and continues to work flawlessly.
The potential of Android to provide brilliant mobile services over the next 18-24 months is vastly better than any of the competition. This is how contract buyers need to look at the handset market, because you're going to get tied to a platform for a long time. In conversation with a very experienced mobile lead developer, on the subject of the new LiMo OS Vodafone 360 platform. He described Google as deliberately holding back Android to allow Apple to act as a stalking horse in to the previously cloistered world of the mobile operator.
I am really glad the iPhone on Orange offer is public. Now we can get on with talking about why Android kicks it's ass.

Who cares? The iPhone is bollocks. Who likes walking round with a big, plastic, cheap looking brick in their pockets.
“The iPhone now with 3G” Who cares, that's ancient technology.
“The iPhone now with a 3.2mp camera” WOW now that is awesome. Not.
People who buy iPhones are just silly sheep, they haven't got a clue about phones.
If you want a real phone, buy a Sony Ericsson Satio or Sony Ericsson Aino. They are both phones with the latest technology, not ancient technology that they are showing off about.

I don't agree with that perspective entirely — remember that there's a heck of a lot of iPhone apps that really add a ton of value to one's existence. At least, as far as I'm concerned. I love the London Bus app, for example, that is thoroughly useful to me almost every day.

It's not *all* about the tech specs.

I will be delighted when Sony Ericsson devices can routinely tell me what Bus I'm on and what stop I need to get off for the next meeting.

About bloody time.. Been waiting for the iphone and evwen nearly switched to O2. Ornage have been lacking in getting newer phones.

Lets hope they do not go and ruin it by locking everything down to the horrible orange. Wh cant they get over that and leave the menus of ALL phones in their orignal colours. Dont over do it guys your putting people off. We know your orange, were with you for that reason. Now go and get some exclusive deals on more new phones!.
PS – make sure the pricing and tariffs are good to getm ore people to join and I hope you look after cusotmers like me who have been with Orange for 14 years!!!!!.. where is my reward for loyalty

99% of iPhone apps are completely pointless and add features most other mobiles have already without paying for.
I don't know about you but I don't need an iPhone to tell me what bus I'm on, surely it would be better looking before you got on.
That example was completely ridiculous and fits in well with Apples philosophy.
“The iPhone 3G now you know which bus you're on” Hahahaha.

It's completelt invaluable to me when I'm getting buses. I don't carry a timetable and I don't know the routes brilliantly except one or two. For example if I'm on the 267 to Hammersmith, does it stop at Stamford Brook? Simply fantastic to have that knowledge at my fingertips.

Another brilliant feature is 'my last train home' feature on the National Rail app. It does a location lookup (already knows my home station) and finds the nearest train station — and then tells me the next direct train home. Brilliant.

A million others are enjoying this functionality — and yes, a ton of stupid apps too — but that's not a bad thing.

Let them — and me — eat cake!

Even if we accepted your percentage (which I don't, but I'm in a good mood today so I'll humour you…) there are 65000 apps in the app store, so 1% useful means I have 650 useful apps to choose from. That'll do for the moment.

all networks have weak area's! don't blame o2
i was with orange for 15 yrs moved address and couldn't get a signal,
i moved to o2 bought a iphone, have great reception and i don't regret leaving orange,
customer services have been great, whereas ring orange customer services and what do i get?
an indian call centre,lovely great service that is.not!!!

listening to a lot of you makes me laugh there's people out there who no matter what you do you'll never please them.
you bought whatever phone you have so just use and enjoy it but stop trying to bash apple cos you secretly want one and as for all the other phones catching up yeah till apple release the next gen iphone then it'll be catch again!
oh and don't start me on mega pixels,
it makes no difference unless you plan to blow the picture up to massive size,
more pixels can actually lead to increased noise its the lens that makes all the difference.
if you want a better picture get a SLR or compact camera or better still get a life !!!!

well boys – i reckon the Iphone is for boys with large pockets, small bollocks and even smaller brains judging from the rubbish on this site…get a life and don't worry about the inconsequential!

Well said Penelope. I think they use them to compensate for something else that's lacking! Haha.
I don't think any woman except Xena Warrior Princess could lift an iPhone Ewan.
It's just a DRM nightmare.

“The iPhone is a DRM nightmare” — it just works. There will continue to be some pressure from the likes of Spotify. But I don't think the average iPhone customer in the UK gives much of a thought to the DRM nightmare of the device. They just use it and it works nicely for them.

Let's face it, the only good things the iPhone has got is it's pick pocket proof because there's no one who could take that brick out of your pocket without you knowing, it has a great video camera and that two point touch screen.
If you were honest with yourselves and weren't trying justify spending so much money on a DRM ridden piece of techno junk, you would stop being so defensive of it.
They aren't even close to being the pinnacle of phone technology, they're not even in the top twenty!
A phone that doesn't let you put your favourite song as the ringtone out of the box? Surely we've jumped back 10 years here? Haha.
As for you Ben Smith, if you think a standby time of 360 hours and a talk time of 11 hours is crap, then I'm afraid you're right, the Satio is definately a disgrace compared to the almighty (sarcasm) iPhone!

It isn't open like other phones though, unless it's hacked, everything has to be signed by Apple.
So in other words, very little will be free.
“The new iPhone 3GS now with MMS capabilities” I hate this word but it's so appropriate here… LOL

Gah, hit the like button by mistake.
*actual use of the screen and 3G may dramatically shorten time you can use it between charging.

The Satio battery might last until tea time for real data users if we're lucky.
If they can't make it any better then than it is now before launch, I'll sigh loudly because the X3 is likely to be just bad.

Funnily enough, at the last school governors meeting I attended a significant portion of the 35+ yr-old mums present had iPhones. They are not blokes, or geeks, or techno-weenies, or particularly wealthy or flashy. They just like the stuff it can do, better than the competition by a mile. It is good for kids games, podcasts on long car trips (love, maps in strange towns, piccys at parties, checking emails, yadda yadda.

Good for consumers, not so good for networks. But as-yet undiscovered tribes deep in the heart of the Amazon jungle (and Ben) knew I was going to say that.

Buy a Satio. Use it. Properly. Make calls. Do a bit of web surfing. Nothing excessive, just reasonable usage. If it *ever* lasts 360 hours I will personally come to your house, let you smash my iPhone into tiny bits, pay for your Satio and write 'that guy Mackins off the internet was right' across my forehead in permanent marker.

Given is has only only around three quarters of the iPhone's battery and two thirds of the N97 and neither of them can manage that I feel pretty safe

Even the new, similarly specced, Nokia X6 has a 30% bigger battery and that's running Symbian too.

You're wrong about nearly everything else too, but this just feels like mocking the afflicted now…

Androids SDK and ecosystem allows for innovative disruptive telephony applications, however the iPhone has the press and the users consuming the applications at the moment, a glaring example of this would be Simon Maddox's excellent 0870 app which is actually old news for Android handsets but press worthy on the iPhone 🙂

Have to hand it to Apple not only are they marketing an expensive device to consumers, they are also selling it to the operators handset buyers, see Strands report on how the iPhone 'benefits' the operator.

One thing for me in all of this that is certain, 2010 will be a lot easier for developers to distribute digital content to their end users and for end users to discover the applications that they find useful, what ever their phones platform.

For the record, I have a Satio. It's right here.

The camera on it is *amazing*, see here:

However, it is one chunky handset. The iPhone which, and anyone in this stream will tell you, I am no fan of, is much more comfortable to hold and easier to use. The Satio is running a poor man's version of Symbian 5th Edition and really could benefit from either an OS overhaul (something like Android would be awesome on this device) and/or some firmware improvements that a) fix the horrendous battery issues, (360hrs? Really? What, if you leave it plugged in you mean?) and b) Do something about the UI.

At least with an iPhone I can send a photo to flickr. Still trying to work that one out on the Satio.


A fan of neither SE or the iPhone,


at last someone with sense, thanks orange about time apple saw reason and gave it to the other mobile / cell operators too

Fantastic news I cant wait to get my hands on one.

I have been with orange for about 4 years, before I tried every single network provider which just didnt offer me the customer service orange has.

I do check out my phone I want in the orange shop but then always order online as you get better deals…!

I say a BIG THANK YOU to orange for getting the Iphone.. I have always wanted one but refussed to move to o2 just for a phone…!

I have my fingers crossed it will be released before christmas 🙂

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