UK iPhone launch Monday possible, 3G unlikely

Who's going to sell the Apple iPhone in Europe? The latest reports suggest Vodafone and T-Mobile, with Carphone Warehouse as the retail partner

UK and the rest of Europe may get a 3G-enabled Apple iPhone from Vodafone, T-Mobile and Carphone Warehouse, according to reports this morning.

Apple will announce on Monday that the Apple iPhone will be offered through a joint promotion with Vodafone , T-Mobile and Carphone Warehouse when it's launched in Europe later this year, reports.

The news needs to be greeted with scepticism however.

3G looks unlikely

There has been much speculation over whether Apple would add 3G capabilities to the Apple iPhone for the European market. It's seen as essential here.

However Steve Jobs told the Wall Street Journal yesterday that 3G chipsets "were not quite mature, in the sense that they're not low-enough power for what we were looking for. They were not integrated enough, so they took up too much physical space.

"We cared a lot about battery life and we cared a lot about physical size. Down the road, I'm sure some of those trade-offs will become more favourable towards 3G but as of now we think we made a pretty good doggone decision."

Jobs: We're sticking with Wi-Fi and EDGE

Indeed, Jobs goes on to argue that EDGE can be a match for 3G and that Wi-Fi is better for web-surfing anyway:

"You know every [AT&T] Blackberry gets its mail over EDGE. It turns out EDGE is great for mail, and it works well for maps and a whole bunch of other stuff. Where you wish you had faster speed is ... on a web browser. It's good enough, but you wish it was a little faster. That's where sandwiching EDGE with Wi-Fi really makes sense because Wi-Fi is much faster than any 3G network."

It's also extremely unlikely that Apple would deny US iPhone buyers 3G on a Friday and then offer it to us Europeans the following Monday.

It's worth pointing out as well that Apple never launches products on Mondays. It's always Tuesday. That alone could be enough to blow Newswirelessnet's story out of the water.

Apple UK also hasn't sent out media invites to the UK press. That's something we'd expect them to do if something as major as a UK launch for the iPhone was imminent. The fact that they haven't suggests it's not.

Vodafone has been the front runner for months

Speculation suggests that Vodafone has been a front runner for the Apple iPhone contract for a couple of months. But the latest reports assume that Apple will go for an approach with two operators and one retailer when it launches the Apple iPhone in Europe.

As expected, all four involved parties were keeping very tight-lipped about these rumours.

When the Apple iPhone will be launched over here is still unconfirmed, but it's on course for the end of the year.

Written by Anna Lagerkvist and Rob Mead