Here’s encouraging news if you’re frustrated with the iPhone being tied to one network in your country. A report from mobile industry news site Mobile Today suggests that Apple is to end its UK exclusivity deal with O2 in September, making the iPhone 3G available to other networks.
The report claims that although this year’s model, the 3GS, will continue to be only available on O2, the cheaper 3G will be opened up to any carrier that wants it.
“Sources” inside O2 are apparently “furious” at the news. This is understandable, other networks would be keen to undercut O2’s premium iPhone pricing which would in turn force O2’s hand to lower their prices.
The networks mentioned in Mobile Today’s report as being in the frame to pick up the device are T-Mobile and Orange, however there has been lots of circumstantial evidence that Vodafone is telling customers they will have the iPhone from September too. Just take a look at some of the later comments here, for example.
The iPhone is already available non-exclusively in many other countries and this latest news will be encouraging for Americans unhappy with AT&T’s grip on the iPhone in the USA. It seems likely that the iPhone will go multi-carrier there when their deal ends (supposedly next summer).
Opening the iPhone up to multiple networks is great for customers keen to save money but not so good for networks keen to make money. O2 shouldn’t be too worried though, they still have their claws in the 3GS and recently signed an exclusive UK deal for the Palm Pre.