At a press event I attended earlier this year, Three UK’s CEO Kevin Russell was repeatedly asked about why the network didn’t sell Apple’s iPhone and if it had plans to do so (along with the iPad too).
Russel’s answer was that it was something that they were considering but hinted that Cupertino would need to offer a better deal first – although, ultimately, Three likes to ‘swim in the opposite direction’ to the rest of the industry.
Today, however, the tide has turned. Three have announced that they will be selling the iPhone 4 and will be taking pre-orders from the 15th of June.
This also makes the UK, possibly, the most iPhone-friendly country in the world, with all four networks – five if you still count Orange and T-Mobile as separate entities – offering Apple’s latest smartphone.
It seems that we Brits can’t get enough iPhone.
That said, I’ll go out on a whim here and predict that the iPhone’s pricing and tariffs won’t reflect the seemingly competitive landscape. Sure, they’ll be a few minor differences here and there, and existing customers who are about to drift out of contract will always be able to strike up a better deal, but largely pricing will be dictated by Steve Jobs.
As I’ve said before, the retail monopoly has been broken but Apple’s supply monopoly remains in place – and I bet Three UK’s pricing and that of its competitors will reflect this.