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Updated: iPhone 3G Coming to Orange UK?

Updated: To address some of the comments, we edited out the URL field to protect the source, but it was not the public facing web address mentioned below. It was local intranet address. Of course, anything is fake-able, so we'll just have to wait and see if -- ever -- Apple and Orange UK make an announcement... or not.

Seems strange to be writing about iPhone 3G launches when there are so many next-generation iPhone rumors flying around now, doesn't it? Then again, there have been rumors about Orange UK getting the iPhone going back to the early days of iPhone 3G. Now, however, a helpful tipster has stumbled across what might be the first step towards confirmation:

iPhone 3G has shown up on internal systems at Orange UK (see the above pic), something that typically happens 6-8 weeks before a handset starts shipping on the network.

O2 has been exclusively carrying the iPhone in the UK since just after the original iPhone was first released, but competition is a Good Thing, right?

Any of our UK mates think iPhone on Orange is brilliant, yeah?

Rene Ritchie
Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

65 Comments
  • Oh hell no. Im just getting to the end of my Orange contract with the full intention of diving to O2 for the new iphone (please be a new iphone). The internet on Orange is poor at best and their wifi support non-existent up here in Edinburgh.
    Irrespective if O2 keep the iPhone I'll be swapping away from Orange!
  • Its pretty interesting that Orange would have not just the HTC Touch HD, but the iPhone 3G as well...talk about covering all your bases.
  • O2's 3G coverage is terrible so it is swings and roundabouts. Yes, you get BT openzone but it is usually worse than useless.
  • Orange's coverage is alot worse than O2 so unless you intend using your iphone near wifi I would say stick with O2 - that said tho', hopefully it will spark a bit of a price competition between the two companies
  • Can't really see this happening to be honest, isn't it a bit too late? This only makes sense if it's the new iPhone. Otherwise it's completely pointless.
  • Good luck getting signal with orange...
  • iPhone on Orange UK would be the business. Rumour has it that Orange had already bagged the original iPhone 2G deal in the UK and only a "financial intervention" by O2 UK tipped the scales, so this wouldn't be a surprise.
    Reception can depend on many factors (handset, building etc), but in general my experience is that Orange on 3G is better than O2's coverage. In terms of business coverage and reliability, Vodafone always seems to beat everyone else in the UK hands down.
    P
  • I escaped Orange to get an iPhone when the 3G was new, worst customer service I have ever received from a company, they would have to have an exclusive on the iPhone to tempt me back.
    There is no way a telecom company should be able to cut you off 4 times running before repeatedly putting you through to the wrong department!
  • "iPhone 3G has shown up on internal systems at Orange UK (see the above pic)"
    That is not an internal Orange system, it is a webpage for customers to get advice on how to configure their phones for Orange services, I would guess they include iPhone settings for unlocked iPhones
    See here http://setuporange.wdsglobal.com/internet
  • Seems like rather odd timing
  • @Chris Oldroyd
    That as maybe, but it'd still be a very good way for them to test throughput of iphone usage on their network?
  • This is not an internal page, it's on orange.co.uk and has been for a while. I work for Orange and this page is for anyone who has a unlocked/sim free iPhone.
  • Well... That kinda compleatly kills that theory.
  • As previously posted this is not an internal system but a configuration utility provided by WDS (Google it) for setup processes for different handsets. Usually this will provide OTA settings being sent to handsets, but you will also notice that some HTC / Windows Mobile - these do not have (as far as I know) OTA settings available and thus will show walkthroughs and settings (APN's, Proxy's, etc.) instead.
    The iPhone setup instructions for unlocked iPhone's have been available for a while and the info is not hidden (after all Orange will still profit from data usage not matter what handset).
    The most exciting info regarding Orange UK & Apple is that they are going to be providing subsidised MacBook's (not sure of exact model, but i think the unibody 13") pretty soon.
  • imh it's a fake.
    i can make the same photo using Firebug (a Firefox's plugin) and a camera to shoot the pic
  • Glad its not gonna to happen apart from the coverage issues. Orange normally stick their ugly logo on all their phones!!
  • Better late than ever I guess but kind of stupid since apple might come with a new one soon in June maybe orange should wait for the new one instend
  • Who knows what'll happen next month. We just have to take these rumours with a pinch of salt. However, I have to say that I left Orange for T-Mobile about 3 years ago because of their appalling customer service. As far as I'm aware, all of Orange's customer service centres are overseas, possibly in Bangalore, and any question you ask if answered with a script. Ask something that's not on their sheet and you're f****d. Now I hear that T-Mobile are about to move their call centres overseas. Shame, because their coverage, prices and choice of handsets has been second to none.
  • So i work for Orange but have an iPhone on O2. I get free phones given to me by Orange as an Employee benefit but I give them away. I honestly think Orange is an awful network. Orange have recently revamped their tariffs to supposedly focus on Internet/Media. And they are still much worse than that offered by O2 for the iPhone. Orange are always behind the times in relation to data tariffs and that is not what you want from an iPhone carrier.
  • The more company apple sells iPhone the less jailbreaking that will happen
  • Orange were by far the worst phone company I've used. Vodafone, as has been said, were amazing .. brilliant service and support. O2 quite surprisingly have been pretty ok so far ..
  • I agree with Simon: Im impressed by the Customer service (and coverage) offered by O2.
  • Orange Employee your sadly mistaken how can you say iphone tarrifs compare, 500 texts, 500 minutes unlimited data and wifi for £35 a month haha what a joke! Take dolphin 40, Including Free mobile internet browsing due to the new tariff refresh + sat nav with orange maps plus 1200 minutes and Unlimited texts... Orange should sack you lol
  • Orange's network is a joke while O2 as a network is ok buttheir customer service is a disgrace. My experiance of Vodafone is superb in every way. We need the iPhone on Vodafone
  • I moved from o2 (with Blackberry) to Orange to get the UMA function going on my Blackberry..
    I WAS happy to be on o2 as I always planned on getting an (improved) iPhone one day -
    So this move away and then returning could cost me about £400 extra to pay off the 18 month Orange contract..(Gahhhh!)
    If iPhone DOES come to Orange - I will save that outlay..
    However the Orange reception at my house is poor and my Blackberry hops over to UMA several times during the day.. (And so far iPhone aint got no UMA)
    Typically I get:
    2/3rds of the day on GPRS
    1/6ths of the day on UMA
    1/6th of the day on EDGE
    (My Blackberry Curve 8900 has WiFi but doesn't have 3G)
    Soooo... I have mixed emotions
    The Iphone doesn't do UMA (so far...)
    I don't remember the reception I got at my house on o2 - I do recall the 3G drifting in and out..But at home I would be on WiFi -
    I sincerely hope on Orange or o2 - whatever I go for - my phone reception will be OK..!!!
    If there were two network options I could always swap networks within the 14 day trial period..
    I cant imagine TWO UK networks each offering free hotspot WiFi - I think they would make a BIG mess of that..
  • As far as I’m aware, all of Orange’s customer service centres are overseas, possibly in Bangalore, and any question you ask if answered with a script. Ask something that’s not on their sheet and you’re f****d.
    Orange customer service has moved back to Newcastle, Darlington, Plymouth and Bristol now. The level of service is through the roof these days. Admittedly the signal needs improving, but they've come on leaps and bounds.
    The main problem would lie in Orange wanting to put in their own software in the iPhone. They've done it with phones like the LG Arena, substituting GPS and sat-nav with Orange maps. Hasn't impressed many customers.
  • Have been with Orange for roughly 10 years and have never had a problem with signal. Used to be on O2 (when it was BT Cellnet) and the signal was dreadful, dropping calls, not connecting etc. Love Orange customer service (call centres are in Ireland judging by every accent i've spoken to), they're friendly fast and professional but...
    I WANT AN IPHONE!!!
    so waiting to see what apple announce in June about any possible new model and will be hoping that Orange gets it also. Don't want to leave Orange as they've looked after me with great customer service, great coverage whereever I travel to, and great tariff which saves me a fortune the amount of landline calls I have to make daily BUT... if Orange don't get the iphone in June I'm going to jump ship to get an iphone and HOPE that O2 have improved their coverage and customer service (i remember they were a real pain in the neck when i wanted to take my number with me to Orange and messed around for two whole weeks)
  • Can't see iPhone on Voda for some reason....plus don't Orange have it in every other country in europe except UK? If Orange got their act together, got the iPhone and went back to the old days of 1st class customer service and bringing cool new stuff to market they would wipe the floor with O2.
    a "financial intervention" from O2 mightn't be enough anymore
  • this may be for a iphone in another country on orange
  • Interesting Guardian piece assuming the iphone is due to be opened up to other UK networks. WHich makes sense if O2 were eager to get exclusivity on the Palm Pre:http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2009/may/24/02-iphone-palm-pre
  • For Me Orange is great, I have tried them all and have been on Orange since 1995.
    I Recently tried an iphone on O2 for 2 weeks - While I reserve comments on the phone itself I would like to say that my experience of the o2 data coverage was very poor compared to my T-Mob and Orange.
    In places where I got superb Coverage(3G and HSDPA)on these networks, I did not on the o2 and was stuck with GPRS most of the time. When in a good o2 3g area I tested the speeds of data transfer to the same website using the same and different handsets and the Orange service won by 14 seconds, so I returned the iphone to the o2 store and i will wait for the iphone to be released on orange.
    An Orange insider informed me that training is going on for orange retail staff for iphones and apple mac pcs, with a hopeful launch in Oct (ring any bells)? lets just hope the talks don't break this time and Apple have better improvements as the very first iphone would of caused to much problems for Orange hence not agreeing to the original contract in 2007.
  • May I add this...
    http://portal.beta.vodafone.com/HelpWidget/images/vodafonedemofinal_v2.1.swf
  • Ignore other link above
    http://portal.beta.vodafone.com/HelpWidget/images/vodafonedemofinal_v2.1.swf
  • sorry this site keeps chopping my link
    try this other http://portal.beta.vodafone.com/
  • I want an iPhone on Orange please please please!!!!!!
  • The above shot is related to setting up the iphone to use the Orange data network, it doesn't relate to the iphone being released on the network itself. The same site can be accessed by members of the public here http://setuporange.wdsglobal.com/internet
  • The next gen iphone will NOT be on the Orange UK network upon release!
  • Not upon release but rumours are stating Oct...09
  • I have an iPhone with o2. I have previously had Orange as my carrier. For me there is no comparison as o2 seem to have decided that Customer Service is a big priority and they are good ... very good. Orange, on the other hand, lost the plot; but I am talking about some years ago so they may have improved.
    o2 gave iPhone owners a very nice 'gift' last time allowing them to upgrade by just signing a new 18 months contract. Not this time, though. I can't criticise them for the contract but it would be fairer to offer a discount as the minutes and texts included in the contract would not be used by the upgrader.
    o2 blame Apple for the price of the 16GB iPhone G3S being $199 in the US and £185 in the UK. I know the US price doesn't include Sales Tax but a more realistic figure would be £145 in the UK.
    While these figures are used I will not be upgrading. After all, the free version 3.0 software give me most features so I'll hang on at least until my contract runs out and maybe until the next iPhone version!
  • Not read all comments yet, but had to comment with all the people calling this a fake.
    A friend of mine just Tweeted now that Orange retentions told him "theres a good chance the iPhone will be on Orange in November."
    I'm at the end of my contract with Orange 1st Aug - was planning to order an iPhone at the end of July! probably can't wait as long as November so O2 here i come!?!
  • I am surprised that Orange retentions would even state this as there is nothing official only rumours. None of the retention staff I spoke with recently will comment on the ruomurs.
    The latest one being the deal is off between the big fruits ;_0
  • I am eager to get an iPhone, but the O2 data connection is really poor compared to other networks. So I'm saving for a PAYG one and will use it with my orange SIM
  • I don't agree with the comments about O2 coverage - yes, probably one of the best 2G coverage but crap 3G. Due to an arguement I left Vodaphone 3 years ago- they DID have the best 2&3G coverage.
    Orange in Northern Ireland has probably the best 3G (3.5g) covergae and outdoes all the other providers. Pity about the handover if driving down the motorways!!
    BRING iPhone TO ORANGE!!
  • Then you do agree about the coverage if you write the **** 3G.
    My Point is that its suppose to be a 3G iPhone but for me its not as its **** 3G on O2
  • Orange has the best 3G coverage in UK it has been proven. O2 has the worst. Bring the Iphone to Orange.
  • The page is supplied by WDS Global. They're an outsourcer that is in the business of supplying configuration settings for all phones on all networks (because the operators generally can't keep up with supporting all the new hardware all the time) so it's no surprise to see everything catered for i.e. again, don't read anything into this about the iphone coming to Orange.
    Orange actually lost their exclusivity on the iphone in France because a French court ruled that it wasn't in the public's interest. Now French court rulings don't hold over here, but I wonder if the EU courts have anything to say about it...
  • just spoke to customer services as due to putting up charges read terms and conditions 4.3 you can terminate if you ring 0845 ,0870 numbers as not part of your minutes and this will cost u 15pence a minute from sept. but they will retain you and will give u good offer to stay and got told I PHONE IS OUT NOVEMBER ON ORANGE
  • I PHONE COMING TO ORANGE IN NOVEMBER 2009
  • Ha oranges network is so much better than o2 I went from o2 to orange uk and there 3G speeds is so much better faster and there's more coverage.
    Shame they can't get the iPhone 3GS because because I hate o2 there rubbish booo!!!
    I want a White iPhone I have the black on hmmm I don't want another 3G so going to have to buy 3GS payngo 440£ alot for a phone!!
  • I've just come off the phone from the Retention department at Orange UK. She told me that the iPhone 3GS will be coming to Orange at the end of October/early November. (She had a briefing this morning)
    No details of any plans as yet, but she assured me that it was a) definitely the 'S' and not just the 3G, and b) that details would be updated on Orange's site under the 'Coming Soon' section by the end of the week.
    I'm not totally convinced.. I've heard that the 3G is coming to T Mobile and Orange as it is going to be out of the 2 year exclusivity contract with O2 by then.. If I was O2 I'd be mightily pi$$ed off if the 3GS (which I assume would be under the same exclusivity contract?) suddenly made it to my competitors..
  • I would love the I Phone to be on Orange, my contract has run out and am thinking about changing to 02 however there service is non available were I live so have held back... I have also found 02 hopeless on customer service, I have been with Orange for years and always found the overall service good so would like to stay.. The I phone is perfect for mobile me and mac users... Have tested the phone and love it... So come on Orange put some competition out there..
  • I have just come off the phone from Orange retentions (u.k. call centre) and the very helpful gentlemen assured me that Orange will be selling the 3Gs version from November!!!
  • Same as eviemc - Spoke Orange customer services who said they could not confir or deny that they would get the iphone, but did say that IF they did, it would be from late October/early November and priced at about £35/mth for unlimited internet & texts and about 1000-1200 minutes - but they could not confirm :-}
    Also, che the link and use the drop down menu - this is direct from the Orange website ;-)
    http://setuporange.wdsglobal.com/internet
  • Yep confirmed Orange UK have the iPhone too www.orange.co.uk/iphone
  • Will existing O2 customers be able to switch to Orange without having to 'adjust' the phone?
  • basically, it's proven that orange has the best 3g coverage;the above web shot is 100% not an orange system (so the "insider" is obvi a fake);customer services have been given no information regarding the definate/exact date of the realease of the iphone on orange and certainly not the price it would be or the talkplans which may be provided with it; at the end of the day, unless you work for the company, the majority of 'rumours or gossip' shouldn't be considered to be accurate. People have to understand that day in day out, csr's answer a call & get customers on the line calling them a t**t etc because theyre phone isnt working, the csr may do everything within their power to help customer, yet when that customer gets an orange survey text which they fill out, that survey is based on the csr NOT the company, and these surverys go towards a csr's bonus.. so to rate it a 0% because they have issues with Orange as a company isnt fair on that person whos bent over backwards to help (know this strays from the subject matter but just wanted to add this comment)!
  • In response to those saying O2 has better coverage, or those saying they want to go to O2... I have the iPhone on O2 and my signal is appalling. I live in Bristol and they say the coverage is good, but I can't receive calls or txts unless I have 3G turned off!!!!!
    O2 won't admit anything but the phone and sim have been changed and it is their network.
    If you want proof - check the OFCOM website - or I'll save you the trouble: http://www.ofcom.org.uk/radiocomms/ifi/licensing/classes/broadband/cellu...
    Please note - Orange has best 3G coverage. Course this depends where you live - but take it from me, O2 coverage is poor. I get the same problem around the country, so its not just where I am.
    Anyway - thats my say.
  • i am on orange now and will be for a longer time i can say i have spoke to somEONE in orange shop they defo said it will be comeing soon thank god :) i cant wait to get one for crimbo :)
  • I have just been given my son's old iPhone (he's just got a 3GS!) and I am on Orange just waiting foir the day I can pop in my sim card and start using it. Hopefully that will be easy to achieve and not too far away... I was told after a good deal of badgering customer support that end of October was the start date but that's now looming up fast.
  • I've just seen a blog about this offer from orange: http://www.paperdeals.co.uk/orange-co-uk-iphone/5877/
    Bit of a long URL i know but it links to the Orange iPhone page, sounds better value for money on this network than it did on O2.
  • Orange provide free iPhone with deals. Check out Orange website.www.orange.co.uk/
  • It’s exhausting to seek out educated people on this subject, but you sound like you already know what you’re talking about! Thanks
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