Matt Gemmell

My new book CHANGER is out now!

An action-thriller novel — book 1 in the KESTREL series.

★★★★★ — Amazon

iPhone 3G on O2 UK

tech 2 min read

I finally succumbed to temptation and picked up an iPhone 3G this morning, and I thought I’d share my experience (which was a positive one).

After the initial launch weekend, O2 was apparently completely out of stock until yesterday (Friday 18th July). Many stores (as listed on the O2 web site) received a limited supply of iPhones, which of course also sold out quickly. When I saw that several Edinburgh stores were listed, I called around and verified that the local stores had stock.

This morning I visited the two stores on Princes St, but they had once again sold out the day before. I then tried the O2 store in the Ocean Terminal, and they had a few left, so I signed up.

I already had an O2 contract (pay monthly, expiring in March 2009), and I didn’t want to pay the entire contract off 8 months early. Luckily, Lauren’s contract had recently expired and she’d switched to an O2 Simplicity plan, which can be cancelled with a month’s notice. So, she decided to simply take on my existing contract, and I signed up for a new iPhone 3G contract (the £35 per month plan, for 18 months of course).

The entire process took less than 15 minutes. After taking some initial details, they performed a credit check. I understand that you’ll usually require proof of address and a government-issued form of ID, but as I was already an O2 customer I only needed my debit card. The credit check was very fast; it only seemed to take a minute or two. It’s worth noting that there was also a student queuing for the iPhone and he seemed to have trouble with the credit check, as did another student when my infamous friend Neil got his iPhone 3G recently. For those who are in doubt, I believe it’s important that the addresses match up on your various documents (which is commonly not the case for students, whose passport or such is often still registered to mum’s address).

After signing the contract and checking out, I was done. I was told that the iPhone would normally be activated within a few hours, and certainly within a day. I drove home (which takes only a couple of minutes), connected the iPhone to my Mac and confirmed my details, and it activated immediately - literally within 10 minutes of having left the store. I immediately received text messages from O2 with my username and password for my online account, and confirmed that it was active and already had all my details I’ve just given in the store.

I had no trouble with any part of the process, and I was very impressed with how quickly I was able to get the iPhone, have the account activated and get started. The staff were extremely friendly, and I’ve also had an excellent experience with the O2 customer service line when I called on an unrelated matter earlier this week.

I just thought I’d post this since I’ve read about the frustrations people suffered with activation during the initial launch. I’m told that O2 expects significantly more stock from Friday (25th July), and that the wisest thing to do is keep an eye on the O2 site’s iPhone 3G section, and also to call your local store to check stock regularly.

The new iPhones aren’t arriving on set days each week, so it’s in your best interests to check regularly. It’s also worth noting that when I checked the O2 site immediately after having seen that my iPhone was activated, it indicated that all stores in Edinburgh were now sold out - this was about 20 minutes after I left the store, and I was the first one to get an iPhone in that store today.

When you do eventually get your iPhone, it seems there’s every reason to expect that you’ll only be in the store for 15 minutes or so (queuing notwithstanding), and that your phone will be ready to go very quickly indeed. O2 definitely seem to be over their initial teething troubles, and I had no complaints whatsoever.

For those still waiting for an iPhone 3G, hopefully you won’t be waiting too much longer.