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Staffer spills beans on O2 UK 3G iPhone launch

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If you’re itching to buy the 3G iPhone on 11 July, then you’d better set your alarm-clock because O2 is said to be letting the first devices leave its stores at 7am – provided you pass a credit check.

The launch day details stem from a posting by MacRumors forum contributor 'Johnpartridge' who claims to have recently visited a Midlands O2 store where an employee revealed all the juicy details.

O2’s talkative staffer apparently said that the iPhone’s sole UK carrier has decided to buck the traditional evening launch – it started selling the first generation iPhone at 6.02pm on the launch day – by letting sweaty-palmed fans buy the 3G model from 7am on 11 July.

While Register Hardware remains sceptical that an o2 shop-operative would be willing to reveal so many details about the phone’s launch, it’s worth noting that Johnpartridge’s post appeared on the website on 20 June at 6.02pm. A coincidence?

Whatever, Partridge also claims O2’s employee said that new customers will have to go through a pre-registration credit check and contract signing service, prior to picking up the 3G model. O2 will be allowing sign ups from 1 July, apparently. By getting the contract ball rolling before releasing the phone, O2 hopes to facilitate a “very successful and painless launch”.

The posting also mentions several other launch day details, although most of which have been heard before. For example, Partridge states that each O2 store will only have 5000 3G iPhones on the day and that none will leave the store without customers having first signed a contract.

Gone are the days when you could take your iPhone home and register online using iTunes.

The company will let you take an iPhone away on a pay-as-you-go connection, but don’t expect the yet-to-be-revealed PAYG handset price to be cheap. It's claimed that Apple stores will only sell the phone on a PAYG basis.

That makes sense, because it'll simplify the sales process there. That O2 and - presumably - Carphone Warehouse stores will require credit checks and contract signing is also unsurprising since that's the way all other network-locked, network-subsidised handsets are sold.

Update
Register Hardware may be sceptical about the authenticity of Johnpartridge’s comments, but several readers have since contacted us to say that O2 staff recently told them the same sort of thing. Read what they had to say here.

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