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Is Apple Throttling iPhone 3GS Shipments To O2?

O2 has apparently sold out on iPhone 3GS AND iPhone 3G online and in shops, prompting suggestions from observers that Apple might be diverting some of O2's stock to Orange and Vodafone, both of whom will be selling the iPhone soon.

Speaking to the Telegraph, an O2 spokesperson said that the Telefonica-owned network will "continue to see extremely high levels of demand for the iPhone which means it comes in and out of stock very quickly and will be why the website hasn’t had any since Monday."

Worryingly though, the overwhelming majority of O2 shops have also run out of iPhone 3GS stock but strangely enough, Carphone Warehouse doesn't seem to have any problems with availability and stated that they "aim to deliver all iPhone 3GS in stock orders within two or three working days."

O2 sold more than 1.5 million iPhone handsets ever since it launched in the UK back in November 2007 but its exclusive partnership with Apple is set to end within weeks as two of O2's fiercest rivals have announced that they will sell the iPhone as well.

The number of SIM-free iPhones available on the market also appears to be on the rise (see Don't Wait For Vodafone & Orange, Get The iPhone Now). Analysts have suggested that a formidable price war lies ahead of us with savings of up to £120 (over two years) expected on some contract deals.

Our Comments

Obviously, a price war will only benefit Apple rather than the mobile phone networks that are selling the iPhone. The company will only be spreading its influence around and it will be hard to wean off the lure of Apple once it has settled. Other smartphone manufacturers will certainly need to learn from Apple's winning strategy.

Related Links

O2 sells out of iPhone 3GS (opens in new tab)

(Telegraph)

iPhone on O2 (opens in new tab)

(O2)

Apple iPhone 3GS - Pay Monthly (opens in new tab)

(Vodafone)

Christmas shoppers hit by iPhone ban on Vodafone (opens in new tab)

(TimesOnline)

iPhone available from Vodafone in 2010 (opens in new tab)

(Computerweekly)

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 ITProPortal.com 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.