3 isn't feeling the love from Apple: it is asking customers to petition to let 3 sell the iPhone.
Mobile telco 3 says it has had a "flood of requests from consumers looking to get the 3G iPhone on 3", but has so far had no joy in dealing with Apple to get the iPhone to sell.
“While we’ve been engaging with Apple to secure the iPhone for 3, we don’t know whether we can range it,” said Noel Hamill, Director Sales, Marketing & Product at 3.
In what appears to be quite a desperate measure to pressure Apple, the telco has built a website, which will go live tomorrow, to post their request for the powers that be at Apple to see. It's at www.three.com.au/iphone.
“Ever since Apple’s announcement that a 3G iPhone is coming, we’ve had lots of calls and emails – the main flavour is people wanting to get the value that 3 offers with the iPhone,” said Hamill.
“We want Apple to see just how much our customers want the iPhone.”
Australians will be able to buy the iPhone from Vodafone and Optus from its launch date of 11th July, and The Australian newspaper has reported that the country's biggest mobile network, Telstra, will also sell it by 22nd July (though neither Apple or Telstra would publicly confirm this.) That leaves 3 as the only telco that hasn't yet struck a deal with Apple to sell the iPhone.
Apple's strategy for selling the iPhone around the world is greatly different from the single-carrier strategy it adopted in the United States. There, people can only get the iPhone officially through AT&T.
3 says the iPhone won’t be available from them by July 11, but it hopes Apple will see sense and let it sell it through 3 Stores soon. Until then, the company said it would focus on offering "great value caps, data plans and handset offers."
Indeed, 3 is by far the cheapest telco on the market for mobile broadband, offering 1GB of data for just $15 a month — a plan that would be ideal for an iPhone 3G user.
“For some, the iPhone is all they want, and we want to offer it to them, but until we can, we’re going to be making sure we do all that we can to deliver the best prices on the best mobiles currently available,” Hamill said.
From tomorrow, customers on 3 can also SMS the word "iPhone" to 333000 to receive a form they can enter their comments from their mobile.