Jonathan: O2’s iPhone exclusivity to end October 9

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According to Mobile Entertainment, the website has obtained or seen a document that says the exclusive Apple/O2 agreement ends on October 9th.

Although O2 is supposed to have the rights to sell the iPhone for five years, there’s a limit to the exclusivity period – which is what may be ending soon, allowing other networks to start selling Apple’s ‘Jesus Phone’.

These rumours have circulated before (about a year ago in fact), but for some reason they seem more credible now – perhaps because of the suggestion that the other networks will only get the original iPhone 3G and not the 3G S.

However, if the exclusive arrangement is ending, we can’t figure out why it would see the rival operators selling the older phone. No doubt all of this will become clearer nearer the time.

Just a couple of days ago, it was reported by The Register that T-Mobile is selling UK customers the iPhone on the sly – but only to high spenders. We have no doubt that this is true, as What Mobile reported the same thing happening a year ago. In fact, Orange has been doing it too, but only to important business customers as deal-sweeteners.

It goes beyond the iPhone too, as networks have often offered handsets to high spending customers that they don’t directly sell, if it means keeping them on their network.

If this rumour turns out to be true, we wonder how quickly the others will get the iPhone in the stores – 3G or 3G S? And will this finally see Vodafone getting in on the action, having worked so hard on its iPhone compatible portal earlier in the year?

This article originally appeared in Mobile News’ sister magazine What Mobile. Click here

 

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