iPhone 3G in the UK: Vodafone Getting in on the Action?

A couple days ago we mentioned that Orange UK might be in the running to become the second (after O2) carrier to get the iPhone in the United Kingdom. Today comes word that Vodafone (think of it as Verizon with a fancy accent and GSM goodness) may also be splitting the Isles wide open. According to Mobile Tech Addicts:

Now we have discovered a Vodafone portal designed for the iPhone. It is basically a portal that gives you access to news but the question is why would Vodafone go to these lengths if they weren’t about to get the iPhone.

The site points out that, of course, it could just be a smart move from Vodafone to woo unlocked, or soon to be unlocked, iPhone owners off O2 and onto their pipes.

Time will tell, but for our UK readers, is Vodafone a better option for you than O2 or Orange UK?

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

iPhone 3G in the UK: Vodafone Getting in on the Action?


Living in the UK, and having a Vodafone contract, I might be biased, but they are definately a more secure, and readily available network in comparison to 02 and Orange. They offer as good if not better deals for pay-as-you-go, and a majority of better deals for pay monthly, so this would be awesome if they bring out the iPhone Mark III in July!!

Vodafone in patnership with Vodacom South Africa had released the iPhone 3G in South African about a year back, so there infrastructure is there and set up

Can't see it happen personally. I work for carphone warehouse which you US guts and gals will know as Best Buy Mobile. We have an exclusive deal with apple to be the only independant retailer in the uk to sell iPhone and we don't sell vodafone on contract so it would be pretty difficult. Think it's all just wishful thinking at the moment but who knows what will happen come July!

Vodaphone would be infinitely preferable to O-Poo. They have little things like decent network coverage and a website that works that O2 seems to have forgotten its customers might want!

UK iPhone 3G User:
Well i switched from vodafone to 02 at xmas for my iPhone, i wouldnt of switched if vodafone were doing the iPhone they rock!! Lol.

UK iPhone 3G User:
Well i switched from vodafone to 02 at xmas for my iPhone, i wouldnt of switched if vodafone were doing the iPhone they rock!! Lol.
They have a better network and better deals.

I have had a stellar service from o2 and before I had the iPhone when I was on pay and go with them. I also was with Orange a long time ago and they had a brilliant service. I hope Orange decide to jump the bandwagon!

Been on O2 for a while so I did have to switch, but vodafone is a better network in terms of coverage. Most business use vodafone our company has even install transmitters in both our London office, I've been with voda in the past and have had no probs.

Vodafone have a good quality robust network. And make sure you know it by charging you through the nose for it outside of your included minutes, usually about 5p a minute difference for calls to other mobiles and about 2p difference on landline calls. I dunno, but knowing that texts cost less than a penny for the network to send, it has always grated with me that vodafone have always charged 12p for them, when everyone else charges 10p. I know its only 2p, but... still.
Hands off my coppers Voda!

As said Vodafone may have some better coverage but they are always more expensive that the other networks and the last to do anything such as data tarriffs.

Ooh, interesting.
I like voda as their network coverage (especially) 3g seems better than o2. I also like how their pay as you go 3g balance doesn't expire.
I would prefer voda for network but my company use o2, we get a pretty great line rental deal with o2 as a result so I think I'll be sticking with them for now.

Vodafone does have a solid network in the cities, but out in 'the sticks' there is only one word for it: crap. Plus, as was said above, they're more expensive. I guess if they had the iPhone they might introduce some more competitive data plans to entice customers.
The Orange network isn't much better, and their customer service reps always give me the run around. So I'll be sticking with O2 thank you. (That isn't to say my iPhone isn't unlocked, just in case!)

I really am starting to believe that this may happen, if Apple wants to really dominate and take on the big boys then they have to have the iPhone on more networks. As proven here, certain networks suit certain people depending on area, at the moment we have no choice, where I live O2 is awful and drops the signal, my wife is on Vodafone and gets a constant 5 bars, give us the choice and let us decide where to spend our money and get the best possible service on the best possible phone.

I'm a current vodafone customer and can't wait to leave (just another 10 months!, was conned into a 2yr contract) So it O2 here i ocme then, used to be with Orange ages ago and have worked for them so know the Customer service is appalling. Just stick with O2.

I think its unlikely to move from O2 just yet, as I'm certain it was confirmed quite recently that they hold the exclusivity deal for some time yet. Plus, rumor on the marketing circuit is O2 are holding back a massive chunk of their advertising budget for the second half of the year to support the new iPhone. But, at the same time I think all this talk of other providers getting the iPhone is also somewhat true... you have to remember a good few hundred thousand customers will start to come out of their original contracts over the next few months and some are likely to want to go Sim free, which I'm sure O2 have to legally do? So my guess is now... other networks are preparing to support the 'OLD' iPhone customers, but O2 will retain the right to sell the phone 'NEW'

Reading all these misinformed comments just shows how little most people understand the UK mobile market.
Where is Vodafone's EDGE network? Oh, they don't appear to have one! Good luck when you are out of 3G coverage then.
Who does Vodafone partner with for public Wi-Fi hotspots? Oh, they don't.
O2 is consistently ranked No.1 for customer service, so no complaints there either.
Apple doesn't need to partner with more operators to make more money, it's not a pile them high and sell them cheap operation. What they do need is a partner who has brand synergy and is as protective of the Apple brand as they are.
That's why Vodafone didn't win the iPhone deal in the first place.

I have to agree, O2's EDGE coverage is awful, worse than their 3G coverage (I think they just decided to tack on their EDGE network when the original iPhone came out).
It might seem strange to you guys in the US that 3G coverage here is much better than EDGE, I can get a decent 3G signal out here in the countryside, yet I can only get EDGE in cities.

If Vodaphone owned 40% of Verizon Wireless, then why didn't they force Verizon into adopting UMTS (which is run on Wideband CDMA which is not that different than CDMA2000 with Ev-Do)?

I spoke to a Vodafone store manager last week who told me to hang on until December to upgrade my phone after I said I would have reall liked an iphone but wanted to stay with Vodafone. She said "When, sorry if the iphone comes it will more than likely be on a £40 per month contract" ........

I am with Vodafone (contract) and i have a iphone 3GS (o2) unlocked jailbroken so i can use my sim card but when Vodafone phoned me to see if i wanted an upgrade on my phone (last month also cant as i have iphone now) i took the cheaper monthly rate but they also said that in February 2010 they will be getting the iphone so i will no longer need to jailbrake my phone to use my Sim (now this is has been said by two Vodafone call centre workers) so i think o2's rain of terror has come to an end as there as there exclusive contract runs out at the end of this year.

As for deals for the iPhone 02 is the cheapest for the minutes texts and Internet you get also 02 have had more experience with iPhone so I'll choose 02

And 02 has got a good EDGE network now because they cut off transmitters to repair and upgrade the 02 network to a better standard. So now my iPhone stays on 4-5 bars

Chris Why do you refer to what Softbank and Apple are doing as a "scheme"? That word carriers a negative connotation, and in my opinion what both companies are doing is very positive. Just wondering if you see it differently.

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