O2 hits iPhone sales targets

O2 has said that it will have connected 200,000 iPhones by "early January", a figure in line with its own expectations. Around 60 percent of iPhone buyers are new O2 customers.

Chief executive Matthew Key traveled to California late last month to meet with Apple boss Steve Jobs, and the two are said to have discussed how to capitalise on the early success, particularly how they can build on the popularity of the iPhone's data services. Key said that users are moving an average of 25MB of web pages, media content and email each month, while just 1.8 percent of O2 customers are using traditional mobile phones to access that much data. And O2 is only measuring data on its own network--it does not measure Wi-Fi use.

While Apple and O2 have been criticised for the price of the iPhone and its three contract options, there appears little doubt that the provision of unlimited Internet access is proving hugely popular with users. The popularity of the handset's fully featured web browser, YouTube and Google Maps applications is a rebuke to those who said that the handset's 2G capability is too slow, with 2G's reputation having something of an unexpected renaissance.

Other sources claim that most O2 retail outlets have missed iPhone targets by some distance, with a typical-sized O2 store selling just one iPhone per week. However, that appeared to change in the last seven days, when O2 staff reported a big upturn, with many stores selling one per day, and even more in large city centre stores.

One of the U.K.'s major independent retailers, Carphone Warehouse, reported plenty of interest in the device, but with a very low rate converting into sales, with the price tag being the main stumbling block. "The iPhone sales were poor. We work in one of the bigger stores in our area and only sold one or two over the Christmas period. Our target last week was to sell 36 and we only sold one."


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