The iPhone is about to make its big debut at supermarkets across the United Kingdom.
The "UK equivalent of Wal-Mart" as it's known, popular British retailer Tesco has announced plans to begin offering the iPhone in some of its largest stores. The deal to sell iPhones through Tesco was born of a partnership between the supermarket chain and the original UK iPhone carrier, O2. Although Tesco hasn't confirmed when its shelves will be stocked with the iPhone, most expect the wildly popular handset to be available any day now.
The supermarket Juggernaut is said to still be crunching numbers and ironing out details with Apple.
This morning on Tech Crunch:
Is an iPhone price war about to break out in the UK? After Vodafone and Orange bagged the iPhone when O2's two year monopoly expired in September, we learn today that Tesco, the UK supermarket leviathan, is to sell the iPhone on Tesco Mobile, its MVNO joint venture partnership with O2.
Orange and Vodafone will likely feel the heat as iPhone availability continues to trickle down to the masses through a variety of new outlets, the latest of which - Tesco - is as close to the masses in the UK as a retailer can get. All told, the Tesco deal is an immensely positive development for shoppers.
While Orange hopes to pad their customer base this Christmas and Vodafone remains unable to launch the iPhone until 2010, Tesco’s foray into the iPhone marketplace will all but certainly offer new customers a faster and more affordable option for obtaining the device this year at a reasonable price.
Initially, prospective iPhone buyers were hopeful that Orange would spark a price war to help drive down prices. Ultimately, however, the operator merely revealed a pricing structure on par with what was already offered by O2.
Tesco Mobile normally focuses on the low end of the market with voice and text, and we're told the prices will be "competitive". As an MVNO, Tesco has a fairly free hand regarding the the markets it goes after. O2 says it has sold over one million iPhones since September 2007, clearly to early adopters.
Image via 9to5Mac