When the iPhone was first launched in the U.K. in 2007, its manufacturer Apple, made a deal with service provider O2 through which, O2 had exclusive rights to sell the iPhone in the U.K. Obviously this monopoly proved very good for business, but the deal which was for a period of two years has now ended.
The competitors of O2, Orange and Vodaphone, have lost no time in jumping into the fray, and both have now got permission to sell the iPhone in the U.K. in both the 3G and the more recent 3GS models.
Although neither of them has set any specific date from which they will sell the phones yet, Orange is expected to start selling the iPhone before the end of this year, while Vodaphone is likely to do so in the beginning of the next year.
While Vodaphone says that they will sell the iPhone mainly to their existing customers, O2 had used their exclusivity deal to attract a lot of new clients. In fact in February 2009 itself, O2 claimed to have sold over a million handsets, thus generating a lot of new clients for themselves, including luring away some of the customers from other networks.
O2 now has an exclusive deal to ell the Palm Pre which is a competitor of the iPhone. This handset will be available from October 16 onwards.
While neither Orange nor Vodaphone have yet specified the price a t which the iPhone handsets will be sold by them the competition between the three service providers is bound to prove beneficial for users.