Monday, 16 November 2009

Orange sells 30,000 iPhones on first day

Orange sells 30,000 iPhones on first day

Mobile phone company breaks O2's two-year exclusive grip on the Apple handset in the UK Orange sold more than 30,000 iPhones within hours of becoming the first network to break O2's two-year exclusive grip on the Apple handset in the UK.

The mobile phone company, which lost out to O2 on the original deal at the last minute, reckons the level of sales reached by 4pm is a new first-day record for a British mobile phone launch. As well as the network's own shops, the device is being sold through independent retailers Carphone Warehouse and Phones4U. Coincidentally the latter today launched a rather eye-catching and potentially controversial new festive look for its website.

Nestled alongside the latest handset deals, is a dishevelled-looking cartoon Santa Claus with his Y-fronts around his knees, urinating against the Phones4U logo. On another part of the site, Santa can be seen smoking a cigarette surrounded by what appear to be beer cans.

The screens of the handsets shown on the site as "the hottest phones at the coolest prices", meanwhile, depict scenes including a fight between two snowmen, which appears to culminate in decapitation, garrotted turkeys and Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer's severed head.

"In keeping with the rest of our 'Great Deals 4 Popular People' advertising campaign we have decided to use some tongue-in-cheek and light-hearted imagery on our website and in our stores to support our seasonal promotions this year," said a Phones4U spokesman.

"This imagery will continue to change throughout the campaign to keep it fresh and interesting. The aim of the campaign is to engage with our target audience of 16 to 24-year-olds and reinforce our unique tone of voice through fun, anti-kitsch advertising that challenges the stereotypical portrayal of the holidays you see on the high street."

In contrast, the launch of the iPhone on Orange is being backed by a far more sober multimillion pound advertising campaign by the network, which is owned by France Telecom. Rather than focus on price Orange is basing its attempt to lure customers onto its network on the promise that it has better coverage than any of its rivals. In fact there is hardly any difference between the cost of the iPhone on Orange and the existing cost of the device with O2.

Vodafone will also be selling the device in the UK, but not until the start of next year. Speaking after the company's first-half results on Tuesday, however, Vodafone's chief executive Vittorio Colao refused to say whether the business will undercut its rivals in the race to attract British iPhone users. "You don't expect me to tell you two months in advance what we will do in the UK," he said. "The only thing I can tell you is if Orange customers are unhappy they can go into red shops."

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