O2 said it was expecting huge demand for the 3G iPhone in the corporate and SME sector following its launch into select members of the B2B dealer channel on July 11.
Sixteen members of O2’s B2B Centre of Excellence can sell the device, with six more to follow at a later date. Its consumer sales channels remain the same (O2, Carphone Warehouse and Apple stores only).
O2 business sales director Ben Dowd said the network was now ready to make the device available to selected B2B dealers because features such as GPS and push email make it suitable for corporate and SME users.
Said Dowd: "These dealers are the partners who we have long standing relationships with and have consistently delivered for O2.
"It wasn’t an option to extend the device to them when we launched it in the first instance.
"There were obviously challenges for business users with the consumer focussed device, it didn’t have push email, and it now has VoIP capabilities, corporate security features and application software that can be opened to developers. Corporates can upload their own software.
"The original price was high for many customers to pay and we have recognised that. Now we have broken down some of the barriers that were there before, it opens up the iPhone to a huge market.
"The new pricing for the iPhone is absolutely in the mix with BlackBerry and other PDA type devices."
The 3G iPhone will be sold on existing O2 business tariffs, with an £8.51 unlimited data bolt on. The 8GB device will cost £84.26 on a small business regular user tariff but will be free on higher tariffs.
The 16GB version will be £135.32 on a small business regular user tariff, £51.06 on small business frequent user and medium business tariffs, and free on large business tariffs.
Corporate customers will receive bespoke tariffs, with trials already undertaken with companies including Logica, McDonalds and Citigroup.
"Feedback has been very positive in terms of interface, usability, and being able to deploy that sort of device in the corporate marketplace," said Dowd.
"It’s consistent with Apple’s approach in the States, trialling the device with Fortune 500 companies, and getting the feedback that is absolutely fit for purpose as a business device.
"According to O2 customer research, iPhone ARPU is 30 per cent higher than the average user, and 80 per cent of iPhone users are using 10 or more services connected to the device.
"Sixty per cent of iPhone users more than 25MB data a month, compared with less than one per cent of other contract users achieving that level of usage."
Said Dowd: "Usage of the iPhone is comparable to that of a laptop. We have found that customer satisfaction of the iPhone is much higher than with other devices."
The 3G iPhone is to launch on prepay at a later date but O2 is not revealing price details as of yet. It will also not sell refurbished versions of the old 2G device.