Apple announces O2 as UK iPhone carrier

Apple has quelled the iPhone rumors in the U.K. today by announcing O2 as its exclusive carrier partner in the U.K. Beginning November 9, O2's 18 million subscribers can purchase an iPhone for about $526 with an 18-month contract. Since O2's EDGE network only covers about 30 percent of the U.K., the companies are offering iPhone users in the U.K. free access to any of the Cloud's 7,500 WiFi hotspots across the country. iPhone users can pick from either a $70, $90 or $110 monthly calling plans (click to enlarge):

O2's CEO Matthew Key said internal surveys show 80 percent of O2's high value subscribers want an iPhone and 40 percent of customers at rival carriers are willing to switch to a new carrier for an iPhone.

The Street also has an interesting report: An A-GPS-equipped 3G iPhone is set to ship in Q1 next year. The Street says inside sources tell it that Apple has teamed up with Broadcom's Global Locate for the chip. While the report is still very much in the rumor mill category, a 3G phone certainly needs to have A-GPS capability to make way for lucrative mapping applications, family/friend locator services and other up-and-coming GPS apps.

For more on Apple's O2 deal:
- read the press release here
- and read this report from The Street