iPhone 3G sold out in the UK – at least for now

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iPhone 3G logoThis morning, at 8am (although I didn’t get the text message until 8.50), O2 (the sole UK mobile operator able to offer the Apple iPhone to its customers) started selling iPhone 3Gs online to people who had pre-registered their interest.

Given that O2 knew how many people had pre-registered, it’s logical to think that they might have been able to judge the demand – but apparently not.

Image showing the O2 iPhone upgrade website whilst unavailable

Aside from the fact that the upgrade site was unavailable from an iPhone (which is nothing short of bizarre) my reasons for being unable to access the site were entirely outside O2’s control (I was driving when I received the message and then in a client meeting until lunchtime) but one of my friends was experiencing poor website performance before 9 o’clock, then the site went down completely for most of the morning and, at lunchtime, O2 customer service told me that the 16GB models were all sold out (certainly people were complaining on the Apple discussion forums soon after that they could only get an 8GB iPhone 3G… although that thread now seems to have been removed). My friend did at least manage to get conformation that his order had been successful (after 6 hours of trying) but by late afternoon the O2 website was clear that there was no more stock available online and that there would be more information available on 10 July.

Image from the O2 website explaining that there are no more iPhones available online

I can’t help thinking that the whole thing was stage managed – after all what a great headline: iPhone 3G sold out from pre-orders alone. Except it’s not – there is still stock in stores waiting until 11 July – and there will be more online.

Clip from the O2 website explaining that iPhone upgrade deals are only available onlineWith special pricing available to existing customers who want to upgrade to the new handset, the message is far from clear with O2 staff giving conflicting information to customers. I’m now confident that I will not need my old phone at the time of upgrade (and it’s currently listed for sale on eBay) but, twice now, O2’s iPhone “customer service” team has told me that I will be able to upgrade in store, despite the local store telling me that upgrades are only available via customer service and the website clearly stating that:

“Existing iPhone customers upgrade early to the iPhone 3G before 11th October 2008.
Only available online.”

They were similarly uninformed about the availability of the white 16GB model but the O2 website currently states that iPhone 3G is only available in black and there are rumours of an O2 internal memo that suggests the white iPhone 3G it is 3-4 weeks away.

And, even though they have told me that “there is no extra charge for Exchange Active Sync”, I won’t be surprised if I later find that only business customers can access this service.

I might get myself down to an O2 or Apple store on Friday but I’m already starting to question whether I really need (as opposed to want) 3G or GPS…

Having said that, I was equally ambivalent about the original iPhone and now I’m worried about how I will manage for a few weeks without it!

3 thoughts on “iPhone 3G sold out in the UK – at least for now

  1. So, when I said:

    “My friend did at least manage to get conformation that his order had been successful (after 6 hours of trying)”

    I should have said that he saw a message which said:

    “Thank you for your order. We are processing this and will contact you if there are any complications with the details you have provided”

    And that, after he heard nothing for a few hours, he expected that his iPhone order had been accepted – but it seems not…

    “Concerned by the lack of a confirmation email, I phoned O2. The guy said that if I haven’t received a confirmation email, then it didn’t go through.


    Anyway, he said I could go to any O2 store, Apple Store or Carphone
    Warehouse on launch day, with two forms of ID showing my address, and I’ll be able to get an upgrade then. I said I had heard that, but that it conflicted with O2’s website saying that I would be able to upgrade ‘online only’. He told me that his department had also heard mixed reports, so they clarified it with O2 head office.”

  2. Your comment worries me. I had ordered and received an email at 0843hrs saying my order was received but I would get another email from them when the warehouse had confirmed it and when I could expect to receive it. I have not received such an email yet, but I had thought that it alluded to a “we have shipped your order” kind of email. The website says that my order is “in processing”. Do you think this means that I will be waiting for allocation in the next block of dispatch instead of the first?

  3. Here’s a shock: the guy I spoke to at O2 didn’t know what he was talking about. He was apologetic and assured me that if I hadn’t received an email, the order didn’t get processed.

    Then, last night (two days after ordering) I received the following email:

    Thanks for your upgrade order. We’re currently processing your request and will update you shortly on its progress.

    Your order number is: on-xxxxxxxxx

    Order Details
    consumer:Bundle Apple iPhone 16GB Black Online GBP35 18M
    consumer:Delivery:DeliveryFree Next Day Delivery

    Please note that iPhone 3G comes with a 12 month warranty period.

    That was followed, two minutes later by another email which said

    your order has been passed to our warehouse for processing. We’ll let you know shortly when it will be dispatched.

    So now I have the ambivalence of being happy to know that I’m getting my iPhone soon, but still annoyed with O2’s shoddy customer service!

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