Last September, Vodafone announced their intention to sell the iPhone in the UK and Ireland "...in early 2010." They spent most of 2009 prepping their networks for the traffic that the iPhone would bring. Now they've finally thrown the switch and sold 100,000 iPhones in just seven days. Vodafone announced the milestone via Twitter on Friday.
Wider distribution in the UK has benefited Apple. Orange's exclusivity in France ended last April when the Paris Appeals Court ruled that the intended 5-year exclusivity arrangement was uncompetitive to other French carriers. Since then, Apple's market share jumped to 32 percent in the latest quarter from 21 percent just three months earlier.
It makes one wonder what kind of dark pact Apple has with AT&T that maintains exclusivity in the US. In my own experience, "Fewer bars in more places" is a hindrance that hurts the iPhone. Most consumers don't separate the network's performance from the iPhone's capabilities, and walk away saying, "My iPhone just couldn't make calls."
Vodafone is the fourth network in the UK to carry the iPhone, the other three being O2, Orange, and Tesco Mobile. Come on, Apple. Look to our European neighbors and give AT&T the boot.