6/19/2008 11:01:00 AM
Apple stores can't sell 3G iPhone on contract
Apple may not be able to sell the new 3G version of the iPhone in its own stores when it launches on 11 July.
The company is working with O2 to enable customers to buy the 3G iPhone on O2 without having to pay a fee under the new subsidised model.
With the original iPhone, customers paid for the handset and signed up to O2 themselves when they got home through the O2/Apple website.
Apple has now decided to adopt the traditional subsidy model of contracts to reach more customers. However, the company currently has no means to carry out credit checks in its stores, and its staff are unfamiliar with the process of signing up customers onto subscription contracts.
An O2 spokeswoman said: ‘We are currently working closely with Apple to enable them to issue contracts in store. Full details are still to be confirmed.’
Customers who bought the original iPhone last year paid for the device and signed up to an O2 tariff of their choice at home. Although some of the devices were then unlocked from O2’s network, neither Apple nor O2 suffered a financial loss as the devices weren’t subsidised.
Non-specialist retailers, such as Superdrug, have opted for branded concession stands in its stores. However, a spokeswoman for Apple said that there were no plans for O2 concession stands in Apple stores.
The O2 spokeswoman confirmed that prepay iPhones, which are expected to be sold at the full price, will be sold in Apple stores, as well as O2 and Carphone Warehouse.
O2 has not yet confirmed the cost of prepay iPhones but Mobile reported last week that it is estimated to be around £350. Vodafone Italy revealed last week that it would sell the 8GB version for £390 (499) and the 16GB version for £450 (569).