Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Ode to 02

Today Apple announced the launch of the iphone 3G, their latest update to the iPhone. This updated version will feature 3G connectivity to the internet, GPS and many other useful software updates.

As an early adopter of the iPhone, I have found it to be a superb device with one of the only drawbacks being the slow and often frustrating performance of the EDGE network. Therefore the addition of faster 3G connectivity would be very much welcomed not to mention additional features such as GPS maps.

At first I couldn't help but feel a little disgruntled as my state of the art device that I purchased for over £300 was going to be superceded by a better version at a far lower price. Some of the features are available in the software update iPhone 2.0 but not the 3G connectivity, which is recorded as 2.5 times faster that the existing access speed.

Whilst I realised that technology innovation was inevitable, I had hoped that I would enjoy a a longer period as holder of the best iPhone on the market. At some points today, I was actually considering purchasing the new iPhone.

I was therefore delighted to read this statement on the 02 website. Perhaps I am getting excited too early but 02 intend to allow upgrades to existing holders of the iPhone 1.0 providing they sign up for another 18 month contract.

The clever part is that they are encouraging existing customers to pass on their old iPhone to friends and family. Of course, various internet hacks, the iPhone remains exclusively available to 02 tariffs. So by encouraging the passing down of old phones, they are effectively recruiting existing iPhone customers into their sales force. I am sure there will be plenty of people willing to take my old iPhone when I decide to upgrade. This is canny marketing; delight your existing customers whilst using them to recruit new ones via the strongest referral of all, word of mouth.

Perhaps I should not be surprised that 02 would do something like this. As an early adopter, my initial tariff was significantly above the market rate for the equivalent with other networks. At the time I was prepared to pay, just to get my hands on the new iPhone. When 02 reviewed their tariffs and lowered the prices, they automatically reduced my tariff in accordance. I was also contacted out of the blue to say that they would reduce the amount I paid for broadband.

I am sure that everyone has had good and bad experiences with each and every mobile phone operator, but my experiences with 02 have been faultless to date.

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