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Exclusive : 3 UK To Introduce iPhone Soon?

We've been contacted by an ITProPortal reader who told us that he was given a 16GB iPhone 3GS by Hutchinson Whampoa's 3 UK for keeping his custom.

The unnamed customer - who had been with 3 UK for several years - was apparently part of a test programme, possibly for an iPhone roll out, and paid the usual £25 a month to get 700 minutes mix and match package with unlimited internet on top.

Interestingly, he was provided with the iPhone option after he threatened to leave the network but didn't have to speak to a supervisor or ask for the PAC beforehand.

There's also the fact that the length of the contract is only 18 months which means that in any case, the maximum amount paid would be £450 which makes it a tantalizing offer.

We know that T-Mobile did offer iPhones to selected, so called premium high value customers. The network had to import unlocked phones from mainland Europe and 3 UK also reportedly did the same back in October 2009.

There had been anecdotal evidence over the past two years that 3 UK was resorting to selling Apple's smartphone to selected customers in order to prevent them from going elsewhere.

3 UK is, with T-Mobile and Virgin Mobile, one of the three mobile phone operators not to sell the iPhone. Its CEO declared at the end of last year that the network would offer the smartphone to its users in 2010.