T-Mobile UK starts shifting iPhones on the quiet
Exclusive, what exclusive?
T-Mobile UK has started supplying iPhone 3G handsets to selected customers, while O2 UK continues to believe it has a UK exclusive on Apple's last-generation handset.
Apple's 3G handset won't be available to just any T-Mobile customer - only high spenders who threaten to leave need apply, and only 150 of those a week will be lucky enough to get their hands on an officially-supported T-Mobile iPhone, though even that risks annoying Apple and will certainly have O2 up in arms.
We previously reported rumours that T-Mobile, and possibly Orange, would be getting the iPhone 3G later in the year as O2's exclusivity period ended. But when we spoke to O2 this morning, the operator assured us that its exclusive deal included the iPhone 3G, and was still firmly in place.
So T-Mobile has imported an unknown number of iPhone 3G handsets from a European distributor, which it will be supplying to customers paying more than £75 a month if they threaten to leave - the latter clause enforced by allocating the handsets through 50 agents in the retentions department, and limiting those agents to three a week each.
Despite this apparent coup, T-Mobile won't be crowing from the rooftops: there are a very limited number of handsets and the company can't risk its own exclusive deal with Apple in Germany, and upsetting the lads in Cupertino could seriously damage long-term relations. So it's last year's iPhone, to a small number of customers, without attendant PR. You might be forgiven for asking why T-Mobile UK would even bother.
The answer to which is that T-Mobile is on the forecourt marked "For Sale", and just like any Arthur Daley the owners are applying a bit of spit and polish to make the company seem more attractive. That includes cutting down on goodwill payments, which topped more than a million quid last year, and reducing the options and hours in the cafeterias: small things that reduce operational expenditure and give the company a better bottom line even if they're not sustainable.
Anyone interested in making an offer on T-Mobile UK can now see a company offering the latest handsets with low opex: something worth having even if an iPhone 3G on T-Mobile UK isn't. ®
...There isn't an algorithm for it...
well there bloddy should be!
That's not how monopolies that may be judged anti-competitive work. Coca-Cola aren't anti-competitive because they're fixing the market price for coca-cola by agreeing with themselves on what they should charge.
I appreciate it's quite a subtle thing for computer science minds to comprehend, but decisions on what constitutes a market for the purposes of competition law is a pragmatic decision made on the facts by a court. There isn't an algorithm for it.
Oh yes we can
@King Edward I
You missed the point.
The iPhone is the commodity and O2 are the group that have exclusive control over it's sale in the UK.
If I want to own an iPhone in the UK without signing an O2 contract (monthly or PAYG), I would have to import one myself from territories like Italy or Hong Kong where it's available unlocked & contract free.
Your comparison with Dell is invalid as they manufacture hardware which isn't unique and use an OS which also isn't unique. We can buy this hardware / software combination from any number of vendors which makes the PC non-exclusive (not to mention the fact I can walk into my local branch of PC World and buy a Dell PC).
An iPhone is unique, as even though other smart phones (with very similar features) are readily available from different vendors, only one company (Apple) manufactures the specific iPhone hardware / software combination (making it an commodity) and only one UK telco (O2) controls it's sale (giving it exclusive control).
That, to all intents and purposes, is a monopoly.
getting a reception of course, im currently sat in the a garden centre for work and have sod all signal on my t-mobile phone while my o2 is perfect. so im doing all my work calls on my personal mob
thanks t-mob you fail!
...what's an iPhone?