Today is the day the iPhone stopped being an exclusive in the UK. Officially, as of 7 a.m., the device went on sale at Orange retailers across the UK, and the carrier is already claiming that the iPhone has gone over exceedingly well with consumers, despite already having been available to O2 customers since its initial launch.
By the end of business today, the newest UK iPhone carrier on the block will have sold well more than 30,000 iPhones, according to gadget web site T3. Not bad for what’s technically a relaunch of an already available device. Compare that with Motorola’s claim of 100,000 Droid units moved in three days in the U.S. Properly framed and in context, the iPhone figures Orange is claiming are much more impressive, and show that hype aside, any competitor still has a long way to go to contend with Apple (s aapl).
Orange also claims that the impressive sales numbers represent a new record for first day handset device sales in the UK, at least regarding published results. The launch sales of the device have also helped Orange’s own Wednesdays app climb to the top of the Entertainment category charts, and achieve the No. 2 ranking overall in the free section of the App Store.
Vodafone, which has yet to launch the iPhone, but intends to in early 2010, didn’t want to just sit back and let Orange have its day in the sun uncontested. The UK cell service provider is hoping to convince some would-be iPhone buyers to step back and wait until its own launch, by reporting that in tests (which I’m sure were completely unbiased), the Vodafone network is the fastest using the iPhone:
“We’ve been out and about testing our network across the UK. Whilst our guys were watching the latest YouTube clips on the iPhone they found that Vodafone delivered the fastest download time for a 10-minute video.”
Vodafone provided not a single scrap of statistical evidence to back up its claim, which is only fair since Orange didn’t provide any to support its claim regarding sales numbers, either.
Orange recently came under scrutiny for its reported 750MB cap on data usage under its “Unlimited” plan, and for imposing bizarre restrictions on how network data may be used, restrictions that seemed, if taken at face value, to basically prohibit 90 percent of iPhone usage. Obviously, the company isn’t actually preventing its iPhone customers from doing things like using IM applications, and since no one’s had a chance to hit that 750MB limit as of yet, things appear to be going more than smoothly for the big launch.