O2 is bracing itself for stock shortages on the upcoming 3G iPhone, with senior executives frustrated that the operator won’t be able to make the most of demand for the new phone.
Apple has reduced the production order for the 3G version of the iPhone compared with the original due to the over supply of the 2G version, which failed to meet targets.
It has left O2 frustrated with Apple after the operator was buoyed by the introduction of subsidy on the 3G iPhone.
O2 believes the introduction of subsidy on the iPhone will attract far more customers than the original, which sold at the full price of £269.
One senior O2 source said: ‘We have to re-evaluate things a bit now. We’re expecting subsidy to make a big hit with the mass market, so we’re a little concerned with the supply.’
The operator is also understood to have set targets to dominate the high-end of the contract market for the second half of the year as a result of the 3G iPhone.
Senior O2 sources indicated that the operator had ‘been surprised’ by the early global release date of the 3G iPhone (11 July), which has put the operator on the back foot.
The 3G iPhone will be available in 22 countries at launch, and 47 in the following weeks. In contrast, O2 UK was one of just six operators stocking the original iPhone.
A spokesman for O2 UK wouldn’t comment on the predicted shortages, but said: ‘We’re seeing phenomenal interest in the iPhone 3G and we predict heavy demand. We urge people to get in line early to make sure they have a good chance of getting one.’
A spokesman for Carphone Warehouse, the only other place to sell the iPhone in the UK, said: ‘We have secured a large order and if that should sell out quickly that will be good for us. Getting more will not be a problem.'
The 3G iPhone, which was unveiled by Steve Jobs (pictured) last month, will
go on sale in O2 and Carphone Warehouse stores from 7:02pm on 11 July, and the 8GB version will be free on contracts over £45 per month.