ORANGE said yesterday that it will start selling the Apple iPhone from 10 November, ending O2’s exclusive carriage deal in the UK.
But there was no sign of the price war that consumers had anticipated, with France Telecom’s Orange setting similar tariffs and contract structures to O2.
The network operator will provide the sought-after 3GS iPhone free to customers signing a long-term deal at £45 per month, or £175 to customers signing up for a £34.26 tariff over two year – an almost identical deal to the one currently offered by O2.
However, the older 3G model will be free to customers when they take a two-year contract at £30 a month, £5 cheaper than O2’s comparable tariff.
Orange said that over a quarter of a million people have already pre-registered their interest in buying the device from them. But the disappointing deals offered yesterday will likely drive many customers to await Vodafone’s entry to the market, early next year.
A further deterrent is the news that existing Orange customers will be given priority, though it added that it is “confident” that there will not be a supply issue.