05 July 2007

iPhone in Europe

Just one comment on the plentiful rumours each day about exactly which carrier is going to get the exclusive rights for iPhone in Europe (one day it's Vodafone, then it's T-Mobile, maybe in Germany, maybe not), then it's O2 in UK, Orange in France....

Most of the rumours say it's going to be the same 2.5g device as in the US. But I'm going out on a limb here and say that it will NOT be that. As I understand it, only Orange supports Edge in Europe. Other carriers have either slower 2G (GPRS) data networks, or 3G networks.

Given the lack of availability of wi-fi hotspots (at least for free) in much of Europe, the importance of 3G (or at least fast networks) is going to be MORE important in Europe.

My prediction is that Apple will release the 3G iPhone in Europe. At the very least, I do not believe they will release a slower one than the Edge version in the US. In making this prediction, I am betting against the supposedly more informaed Times, FT etc all reporting on this matter so certainly.

On a similar theme, while Apple appears to have agreed a 2 year exclusive with AT&T in the US, I do NOT believe they will agree such an exclusive in European markets. This is because they are more fragmented than the US (eg. typically 5 providers in many markets often with similar shares). Sure, there may be country exclusives. But I don't believe they'll be for much longer than a supply shortage would exist.

The mistake most media is making is that the deal and product that is in the US is the deal and product that will be made here. I don't think it is right to make that assumption. Sure, there will be similarities and the AT&T deal gives us a number of pointers. But no more.

What is important in all this is that Apple holds their ground and has driven the service providers so that they do not cripple the device. I'll be posting soon on why the Nokia N80 I got last year is the most disappointing phone I've had and how the UI on the iPhone trounces it.

Tags: , , , , , ,

No comments: