9/3/2009 11:07:00 AM
3 plots unofficial iPhone supply deal
3 is looking at routes to import Apple iPhones in a bid to stem defections of its highest spending customers, Mobile understands.
The network has already seen thousands of customers sourcing their own unlocked iPhones and then pairing them with 3’s Sims to take advantage of its cheap deals.
If the operator goes ahead with buying iPhones, it would be the first time 3 sold handsets acquired through unofficial routes in the UK.
The move underlines how highly sought-after iPhones continue to be among high-spending customers.
3’s customers in Australia can already buy the iPhone as all handsets are unlocked, allowing the network to officially stock the device. 3 also sells iPhones in Denmark, Sweden, Italy and Hong Kong.
Buyers are likely to look for iPhones outside 3’s existing territories to avoid jeopardising existing supply arrangements with Apple.
3 could risk group-wide damage to its relationship with Apple if the UK business sources iPhones without authorisation from the manufacturer; potentially affecting 3’s territories that have official supply deals with Apple.