Following on the heels of yesterday’s news that Orange will be offering the iPhone in the United Kingdom, Vodafone today announced similar news.
Vodafone has entered into an agreement with Apple to bring iPhone 3G and 3GS to customers in the United Kingdom and Ireland later this year. The carrier now offers the iPhone in 13 countries and territories.
Information on the Vodafone Web site was limited. Customers can go to the site to “register their interest.” No information was available regarding pricing, tariffs and availability on Vodafone.
The iPhone on Vodafone will mean competition in the U.K., as three carriers – O2, Orange and Vodafone – will now be offering the iconic device. In the past, customers shopping for the iPhone have been limited to only one carrier, as Apple initially set up exclusive two-year carrier partnerships. In the U.K., O2 was the lucky carrier.
Steven Hartley, senior analyst at Ovum, today issued a comment on the move by Apple and Vodafone, concluding that more iPhone carriers is a good thing for consumers. “A three-way battle will result in cheaper tariffs … Vodafone and Orange will aggressively target O2’s iPhone customers. Those signing up for the 3G iPhone at launch will be coming to the end of their 18-month tariff in January 2010, including those customers that upgraded from the 2G version,” Hartley stated.
Hartley went on to offer a glimpse of how developments in the U.K. translate to the United States, where AT&T’s exclusive contract with Apple is said to be running out. “In the U.S., only the relative immaturity of T-Mobile’s 3G network and the lack of a CDMA version that could leverage Verizon’s massive customer base can now be holding back Apple… Apple wants the iPhone everywhere and operators are only too willing to oblige,” Hartley wrote.