Vodafone Sells 100,000 iPhones In A Week

Vodafone has sold 100,000 iPhone handsets in its first week, suggesting that the Apple device is still as popular as ever – among both consumers and business users

Despite arriving late to the iPhone party, Vodafone has shifted 100,000 Apple handsets in its first week of sales, according to the mobile operator. This includes more than 50,000 pre-orders, which were shipped to customers after Vodafone began selling the device on 14 January.

The company claims to be focused on attracting users from within the business market, rather than viewing the iPhone as purely a consumer device like some of its rivals. “The demand from both consumer and business customers has been phenomenal,” said Vodafone chief executive Guy Laurence in a statement. “They want an outstanding phone on an outstanding network and we’re delivering that.”

Vodafone is the fourth British network to get its hands on the iPhone, almost two and a half years after the handset’s first UK launch. Orange became the second UK mobile operator to stock the Apple handset on its network, after O2’s exclusivity deal for the iPhone expired in November 2009. It was quickly followed by Tesco, which offers the device as part of a competitive £20 per month contract, as long as the customer is willing to pay £222 up-front.

Late last year Vodafone confirmed it would sell the device from 14 January, missing out on the lucrative Christmas period. At the same time Vodafone also dashed analysts’ hopes of a price war over the popular handset, when it announced its own tariffs for the device. Instead, Vodafone intends to rely on the strength and robustness of its network to give it an edge over competitors.

“We been investing in our network and we believe we offer our customers a great experience with the iPhone,” said a Vodafone spokeswoman at the launch. “We are quite confident that we have invested in the right place to make sure our network provides the best experience for iPhone users.”

These comments come after the boss of O2 apologised over the Christmas break for embarrassing network failures in London, which he blamed on the bandwidth strain from the increasing use of smartphones such as the iPhone.

The ongoing popularity of the iPhone is good news for Apple, which is rumoured to be on the verge of launching its long-awaited tablet device. The company has sent out brightly-coloured invitations for an event on 27 January, which ask journalists to “come see our latest creation”.

The tablet, rumoured to be called the iSlate, has been described by industry commentators as an “iPod Touch on steroids”. If it exists, the device is likely to be a multimedia touchscreen netbook, combining MP3 player, gaming platform, video, e-reader, and Internet in an all-in-one entertainment device.