Apple this morning confirmed O2 as its partner for the iPhone in the UK. The company confirmed the 8Gb model of iPhone will be available through O2 in the UK from 9 November, priced at £269.
The device will be available for sale from O2, Apple retail and Carphone Warehouse stores, putting the device into reach of 90% of the UK population, Apple said. The company believes most of the UK will be within 20 minutes' drive of an iPhone outlet.
"We're thrilled to be partnering with O2 to offer our revolutionary iPhone to UK customers," said Jobs, Apple's CEO. "US iPhone customer satisfaction is off the charts, and we can't wait to let UK customers get their hands on it and learn what they think of it."
"Our strategy at O2 is to bring our customers the best products and experiences," said Matthew Key, CEO, O2 UK. "The iPhone is a breakthrough that is changing the way people use their mobiles forever, and we're thrilled to have it exclusively for O2 customers in the UK."
In a similar offering to that made in the US, the device won't be available under any subsidy and it will cost consumers £269 for the handset under an 18-month contract with O2.
The iPhone will be available under three tariffs with prices set at £35, £45 and £55 per month. All three plans offer free unlimited data traffic - users pay for the device, their calls and messages. A UK network of 7,500 WiFi HotSpots (long-established network, The Cloud) will also be available to users signed up to one of the three tariffs.
"We are coming to the UK and wanted to pick the best carrier and that is O2," Apple boss Steve Jobs said at a news conference in London.
Alluding to the decision to make market moves with O2, Jobs said: "We wanted to know a few partners and find the one most compatible with us, so we dated lots of other carriers, but decided to marry O2, there's a few upset girlfriends out there."
"It wasn't an economic choice, but a cultural one," Jobs said, circumventing recent reports that claim O2 has agreed to pay 40 per cent of revenue to Apple. Apple wouldn't divulge any detail on the contract.
The phone will work on EDGE networks and will support WIFi. Jobs discussed 3G and said he believes Apple has a superior solution. However, when the device launches just 30 per cent of the UK will be enabled for EDGE on the O2 network. "WiFi offers better connectivity," urged Jobs.
Asked about the exclusive Starbucks tie-up in the US, in which iPhone users can gain free access to the iTunes WiFi Store from any participating Starbucks store, Jobs made no promises for extending that deal to the UK market. "You'll have to speak to Starbucks about that," he said.
Apple's recent decision to cut the price of the device in the US also came up in questions. Asked if a UK iPhone purchaser could expect a similar rebate to that offered Apple's US customers when that discount emerged, Jobs stressed the fast-moving nature of the technology market and warned of no guarantees.
The company remains focused on the iPhone. "We're already working on the next iPhone, and the one after that," Jobs said, adding, "and we're already thinking about the one after that..."