3 UK expects iPhone next year


3 is to boost its smartphone offering next year, including the iPhone, in a bid to position itself as the data network of choice, chief executive Kevin Russell said today.

Speaking at the Westminster eForum in London today titled ‘More than talk… the future of mobile’, Russell said he expected 3U K would range the iPhone next year, in the midst of a strategy to widen its smartphone portfolio.

Said Russell: “We are a data network. Ninety-three per cent of the traffic on our network comes from data. 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. Our take up of web services is already massive.”

When questioned as to why 3 had missed out on iPhone distribution following recent contract wins by Vodafone and Orange at the end of O2’s exclusive period, Russell said it had been a matter of building the business on its own merit and not because of one drawcard.

He said: “We do not have the iPhone now because of our own strategy. We think it’s dangerous to jump on something just because it has been deemed ‘the holy grail’. I don’t like the idea of building a business on one thing that you can’t control. I wouldn’t like to be reliant on growing our business this way.

“The reason we haven’t dealt with smartphones much until now is because we have specialised in products for the mass market, to get millions of customers using the mobile internet as quickly as possible, so that is why we have focussed on prepay. The cost of the smartphone has been prohibitive to this audience but in 2010 we will move increasingly into this area.”