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iPhone 3GS Bound for Orange on Nov. 10

orangeUK folks interested in the iPhone 3GS only have mere weeks to wait before they can shop around and escape the tyranny of O2, according to a report from The Guardian this past weekend. In fact, in only two short weeks, Orange will begin offering the coveted Apple (s aapl) handheld, on Nov. 10.

That’s the day following the end of O2’s exclusivity contract with Apple, so it literally couldn’t begin offering it any earlier. No word yet on when specifically Vodafone will begin offering the device, though it will eventually join its two rivals in selling the 3GS sometime in the new year.

According to The Guardian, despite the iPhone’s strong performance to date, interest in the device in the UK isn’t showing signs of stopping anytime soon:

Certainly interest in the iPhone among UK consumers shows no signs of abating. Already Orange has had over 200,000 customers register their interest in getting the device, before the company has even said what it will charge for it.

While the timing seems ideal in terms of sparking a holiday price war for Christmas consumer dollars, that scenario is actually fairly unlikely, since Orange UK has made statements to the contrary, claiming that instead of offering a lower price on the device than O2, it will try to attract customers with added value. That might take the form of accessories, temporary contract incentives, or pre-loaded applications, which is the mobile equivalent of bloatware, if you ask me.

It’s a disheartening sign for those who were expecting a more open field with regards to the sale of the iPhone to result in more affordable prices, but remember that this is only the beginning. Vodafone will enter the fray in 2010, as will the smallest UK carrier, 3, according to recent statements by the company’s CEO, Kevin Russell:

I would expect the iPhone to be on the 3 network sometime during 2010. At the moment, we don’t have the iPhone. We don’t really have any smartphones, but if we improve our range of smartphones and introduce the iPhone then our data traffic will grow massively.

If networks want to use the iPhone to do more than just retain existing subscribers, they’ll have to begin offering clearly defined advantages, and nothing attracts attention more than lower prices. Remember that the iPhone is already among the most heavily subsidized devices on the market, though, so it isn’t clear how much further providers can go without seriously affecting profitability.

10 Responses to “iPhone 3GS Bound for Orange on Nov. 10”

    • That’s why I want to buy an iPhone as soon as the new version is released. So I can have the longest possible stretch of non-obscelesence. Additionally, I predict that the next release of the iPhone will be more substantial than the 3GS (And possibly the 3G too).

    • Plus, won’t some of the capabilities won’t work for like 6 months AFTER the next version of the iphone is released? Pretty pointless… just get a contract now and you’ll be able to get the next version when it’s been out for 6 months/a year… and the handset will be slightly cheaper. You can keep chasing technology, but you (and your bank account) will get knackered faaaairly quickly :)

  1. Cousin Dan

    After having a 1st gen ipod touch for nearly two years, I’ve been putting the iphone off, the week I finally decided to get one we got the announcements from Orange and Vodafone. I’m now just waiting, I’d rather be with Orange than O2 definitely, the question now is after waiting so long do I bite the bullet and buy on the day of release with Orange or do I wait for the chips to fall and an unconfirmed price war?

  2. Does anyone know what O2 are going to do about unlocking folks out of contract or on pay as you go. Surely there will be an easy unlock procedure to migrate to Orange. Orange will need to make this happen on 10th Oct as I for one will be ready to move.