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Why Apple's iPhone 3G S Should Be On 3, Not O2

O2 has said it won't play nice with iPhone users who decide to bypass the phone network operator's profile to convert their phones into standalone modem.

This sensibly brings us to a conclusion; maybe Apple made the wrong choice by selecting O2 rather than a more data-friendly phone network like 3 to allow the iPhone to evolve.

Make no mistake, O2 is way larger than 3 in Europe and because 3 is the fifth mobile network in the UK - as far as the number of subscribers are concerned - it was dismissed from the start.

But when you consider the latest development - the fact that punters will need to pay £30 to get 10GB worth of data via O2's Internet Tethering Bolt-on - suddenly makes the Telefonica-owned company look like a proto-bully. Technically, if you want to use your iPhone as a modem, you will be paying more than £50 per month to get the benefit.

3 not only offers cheaper data - £1 per GB worth of data when purchasing 15GB - it also throws in a number of other goodies like free, unlimited Skype. O2 currently forbids any kind of streaming data (audio and video) in their TOC although this is very loosely respected.

3 has also released a new £0 pay monthly contract (essentially a PAYG/Pay Monthly Hybrid) on one of the best 3G networks in the UK (although many will disagree) and it would work wonders on getting more iPhones on the market.

Apple is likely to end O2's exclusivity over the iPhone sooner rather than later if, as expected, it gives the possibility to others to sell the phone. The Cupertino-based company does not need O2 sales persons or marketing clout to evangelise the iPhone now, these little babies do it by themselves and rather well.

Significantly, as Apple sees the iPhone as part of a much bigger picture, it will undoubtedly understand the importance of having a mobile network provider which prefers to act as a dumb data pipe.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.