Orange France lets slip iPhone shipment numbers

Despite Apple's preference that this information not be made public, Orange France has made a surprise revelation that, as of the end of January, it had sold 90,000 iPhones since it started selling the handset in November last year. Of those sold, 86 per cent were equipped with one of Orange's four iPhone-specific price plans, while the remaining 14 per cent were sold without--a legal requirement in France for this to be offered.

O2 in the U.K., while not revealing the number of iPhones sold, confirmed recently that it was the fastest selling device it has ever marketed in the U.K. Perhaps of more interest was the company's admission that the iPhone ARPU was 30 per cent higher than an average postpay user, and it has helped O2 U.K. to gain high value customers in the market--approx. 60 per cent of iPhone customers had migrated from other networks.

Separately, reports from the U.S. indicate that supplies of this first version of the iPhone are drying up--20 stores are reported to have sold out--suggesting that the new 3G-enabled iPhone will soon become available; or there could just be a simple manufacturing problem.

Commentators have also pointed out that Apple has yet to submit a 3G iPhone for approval by FCC, something it's obliged to do by U.S. law. However, a Gartner analyst noted last week that Apple supplier Hon Hai Precision Industry already has 10 million 3G iPhones waiting to ship--it's just waiting for Apple to give it the nod.

For more on this story:
- read PC World and Pocket-Lint