Thursday, July 05, 2007

IPhone on O2?

The BBC is reporting that O2 in the UK has won the exclusive contract to sell the iPhone. I'd guess that probably means O2 Ireland will get the phone as well. That's a shame really considering the European iPhone is supposed to have 3G but O2 Ireland don't really seem to do 3G for phones at the moment. Oh they have some scripted response around having a 3G network for since August 2005 but that is only if you bought a data card for your laptop or something. 2005 when Vodafone were showing off video downloads and video calls, O2 were introducing iMode, which is basically WAP with more graphics to enhance your billing experience.

When I bought the K800i in January I was told 3G would be available in March, then it was June, then it was sometime before the end of the year. One time the shop assistant blamed local residents for objecting to masts. I felt like pointing out that Vodafone and 3 had managed it, but wasn't in the mood to argue with someone who had absolutely no ability to turn on the desired 3G services. I contacted O2 customer support via email asking when I would be able to access 3G on my phone and after several "I don't understand your question" emails they explained that video telephony was not enabled but was being tested. At this rate it'll be the most "tested" network in the world.

Finally despite all that complaining I don't think I would really want 3G services on O2 at the moment under their current data pricing plans since they would require me to get a bank loan in order to make a video call or download RTE news headlines. Even just browsing WAP sites and RSS feeds, with graphics turned off, adds up quickly every month. I live in the hope that when they introduce 3G they will also introduce a new price plan.

Still as things stand I'm happy with my Sony Ericsson K800i, I'm getting into this device convergence thing and I want the next phone I buy to completely replace my MP3 player so it'll have to have more than the 8GB memory in the iPhone and not use memory cards like the K800i, a radio is a must and it will have to have 3G video and wi-fi and a proper web browser... hmm, it's looking like I'll be buying an iPhone with one of those annoying radio add on things they are bound to release costing another €100.

Update 11 Sept 2007: I went into an O2 store on Saturday and asked if they had any plans to release 3G services for phones. You know, nothing complex, just things other networks have had for ages now, seems like years. The standard things that comparative new comers to the Irish market, 3, can manage. Like video calling and TV downloads. Easy, or so you would think. Unfortunately the answer I got was that they, O2, are trying to strengthen the 3G network before trying anything like that. Strengthen it? It appears to be strong enough for them to pitch it as an alternative to broadband for computers, but it's not strong enough for me to download a low res video or two? Oh and I can sign up for a 10MB download package for €9.99 and €1.00 for each MB after that. Great, so even if they had a 3G service you'd have to be crazy to spend several euros to download the news headlines.

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