O2 will have exclusive rights to distribute the iPhone in the UK. The announcement was made by Apple’s CEO, Steve Jobs in London on September 18th. The 8-gigabyte handset will go on sale in the U.K. on the 9th of November for £269 (€399), including tax.
iPhone’s UK launch comes in time for the holiday season, and is accompanied by a $200 price cut in the USA to drive further sales over Christmas. Carphone Warehouse, the UK’s biggest handset retailer, will sell the phone in partnership with O2.
Apple will sell the iPhone in Germany via T-Mobile and in France through Orange. The release date for these countries is set to coincide with that in the UK. The partnerships were all selected based on the potential coverage and network size.
The feature set that will be made available in the UK is nearly the same as that in the US, except for the availability of visual voicemail, European language keyboards, quick access to currently playing tunes, use of firmware version 1.1.1 and the ability to turn off EDGE roaming.
While 3G access will not be made available till 2008, according to Steve Jobs, the O2 iPhone will provide free WiFi access to UK users through 7,500 hotspots powered by Cloud.
Google, meanwhile, will definitely launch its own-brand handset, dubbed GPhone but has yet to finalize the handset’s specifications, OS, production contractor and operating partners, according to sources at Taiwan handset makers who spoke to DigiTimes reporters.