According to a report from investment bank Credit Suisse, Vodafone are leading the race for European exclusivity to the Apple iPhone. Credit Suisse believe that Vodafone’s European presence will attract Apple to look in their direction, but how likely is this? O2 has a huge presence now, especially among consumers (for which the iPhone is designed), and lets not forget its Telefonica ownership also gives the network significantly more weight than it has ever had before.
While many would tip this to be a two horse race between Vodafone and O2, will Apple also look in the direction of T-Mobile? It’s possible, especially seeing that T-Mobile is hell bent on a loss making strategy of growing its market share, and it would likely be willing to subsidise the iPhone hardware more than the two major players would, but does it have the weight and brand quality of Vodafone and O2 – probably not, and Apple is all about image.
For whoever wins the deal it will be a lucrative contract- we have already seen AT&T sign an exclusive five year deal with Apple on the iPhone – which, given average mobile phone life spans, tells us that there will be more iPhone’s to come in the future (possibly with added features, though undoubtedly just in different colours if the iPod is anything to go by).
All of this aside, is Europe ready and willing to buy a device which has no 3G, no video calling, no Flash enabled web browser, no removable battery, no iTunes use without signing up for an iTunes account and no third party application development platform – unfortunately despite the iPhone’s shortcomings (and our need for the latest toys) we probably are, and we’ll buy millions of them.