O2 takes it to the EDGE

We don't need no stinkin' 3G for our iPhone

EDGE connections are popping up on O2's network as the company prepares to deploy the 2.5G technology.

The sudden outbreak of edginess comes despite the firm paying over £4bn for a 3G license and dismissing EDGE as a redundant technology, and can only be related to the imminent launch of Apple's iPhone.

Mr. Jobs promised a 3G version of the iPhone by now, but O2 seems unable to wait and has decided to deploy the current technology. Most of O2's network can support EDGE with a software upgrade, so the expense is minimal, particularly if it limits the deployment to London and its environs.

US iPhone users have tolerated EDGE connections, when they can't find a Wi-Fi hotspot to link up to. O2 already has deals with a range of hotspot providers, and our information is that they'll launch an unlimited data tariff to go with the iPhone, which could easily incorporate hotspot access.

Deploying a data-centric device using EDGE is something of a slap in the face to O2 investors who supported the company spending billions on 3G, and selling the iPhone will be even harder when it's on the shelf beside a free HTC-Touch (or similar) which has 3G. Even if punters don't know what it all means, they'll spot the missing specification and difference in price.®

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