Aussies to get 3G iPhone in June... and unlocked?
No carrier tie-ins for roll-out Down Under, dealers told
Australians may not only be among the first folk to get their mitts on the upcoming 3G iPhone, but they may also be offered the handset without ties to networks.
So claims a poster on Down Under website MacTalk. The site's correspondent alleges the info comes via local resellers who were briefed on the launch by Apple this week.
Here's the gist of the claim: Apple will release the iPhone in Oz in the last week of June. It'll be supported by multiple carriers and there will be no contract ties. Local Mac resellers will be able to sell the handset too, not just Apple and carriers.
There's no specific reference to the 3G iPhone, but if the speculation that Apple is going to release such a handset in June is correct, it seems likely that Australians will go straight to the 3G model without being offered the current, 2.5G model first.
June is expected to see the debut of iPhone OS 2.0 and the launch of Apple's over-the-air download store. If going releasing a major new version of your OS isn't reason enough to upgrade to 3G, then offering your customers the ability to transfer software straight to the handset certainly is.
All the buzz - and some pointers within the recently released third beta version of the iPhone software development kit (SDK) - indicates the next iPhone will be 3G. The story has reached the stage that Apple will disappoint massively if the upcoming iPhone revamp isn't accompanied by a new, 3G handset.
MacTalk's correspondent suggests that Australian telcos have consistently failed to be charmed by the iPhone, leading Apple to adopt a non-exclusivity approach. That said, unlike other territories, in Australia only Telstra has an Edge network so there's no competitive impetus for it to take the current handset. All the local carriers, however, have 3G, so Apple might yet persuade one to stand out from the crowd by offering the 3G iPhone exclusively. But it does seem that it hasn't managed to do so so far.
With no carrier exclusivity, Apple's forced to offer either an unlocked handset or locked ones for each of the networks. The latter's too much effort, we'd say, making it easier to just unlock the thing and have done with it. If that's the case, there's no reason not to allow all and sundry to sell the phone - the more the merrier, in fact - which explains why Aussie Mac resellers will be able to offer the handset. For now, their US and European colleagues can't.
This new-found freedom all hinges on Apple failing to sign up a carrier, and we wouldn't put it past the company to continue to push for an exclusive deal right up until the eleventh hour.
Or Apple may have reached the stage where it believes the iPhone now has sufficient mindshare - and thus certainty of demand and sales - that it can risk losing the share of data revenue it gets from its current carrier partners to focus on making money out of the handset and associated services alone.
Re: Re: 3G iPhone, 3G O2 ?
Having 3G networks isn't the question. Coverage is more important, and 3G coverage is not so great in the UK.
Also important to consider whether operators will let you on their 3G network, particularly on contract.
i.e. on Orange UK you can't get on 3G on contract without buying a branded 3G phone from them (and using a SIM from a 2G phone doesn't work). PAYG is no problem though. Bizarre. It's apparently down to the SIM type (SIMs and USIMs), but it's not a technical issue as SIMs will let you on other 3G networks (including roaming on Orange France!), but Orange UK won't let a contract 'SIM' on 3G, only a contract USIM which you can only get with a 3G Orange branded phone. Go figure! (well, maybe not so hard to figure as it forces people to buy branded 3G phones from Orange).
So, a word of warning if you expect to buy a 3G iPhone from somewhere, import it and hope to use it on 3G in the UK. Okay, maybe O2 are different from Orange. I don't know. Don't expect it to work on Orange though.
Re: 3G iPhone, 3G O2 ?
Of course O2 has a 3G network, as do all the major UK networks. hence why they can sell handsets like the Nokia N95 and other 3G handsets :)
14.4Mbit is all nice and fine, but the cost is something else, especially for any practical use of such speed. Web & email, fine (needs little anyway). Start doing video streaming and other intensive features that would make use of it and operators will start charging bucket loads, especially if it's made popular through the likes of iPhones.
What sucks at least about the UK is the sky high charges for mobile internet (I mean, come on £2 or £3 per Mb *Orange* !! Get real!). Worse is roaming rates. No capped or daily rates even for web/email, and charges as much as £8 per Mb!!! Insane.
8Mb home broadband may be slower, but it's a damn sight cheaper (as is even public WiFi).
What we really need is decent structured public WiFi services and reliable connections with cheap tariffs. 3G is the wrong way to go, at considering how much operators charge (much of which is thanks to the amount they had to pay for it in the first place).