The Carphone Warehouse is struggling to shift a glut of iPhone stock in preparation for the anticipated launch of a new model this summer, according to a weekend report.
The Telegraph newspaper suggests that despite a new 24-month contract deal, announced in March, that sees the 8GB iPhone being offered free on 02's £34.26 a month tariff and the 16GB iPhone for free on the £44.05 tariff, take up has been poor.
Potential customers are said to be put off by the increased length of the contract term from 18 months to 24 months, a view reflected on the official 02 News Centre blog.
"Who in their right mind is going to commit to 24 months at that price? Especially for a phone as 'controlled' as the iPhone," runs one comment. Another adds: "So, they reduce the upfront cost by £100 but increase the contract length by 6 months? £35 x 6 = £210. If the intention is to encourage new customers this fails dismally. While knocking £50 off the phone costs would seem really simple it might just work."
Savvy customers also appear to be aware that a new iPhone model will be with us sooner, rather than later, with a wealth of novel features anticipated following the announcement of the iPhone OS 3.0 OS next generation operating system and the release of a new iPhone Software Development Kit (SDK) to developers.
"The price cut has made no difference to the number of iPhones sold," a source at Carphone Warehouse told The Telegraph. "No one is buying the phone because everyone believes Apple will launch a new handset this summer."
Those who do sign up to the 24-month contract, introduced on 3 April, could find themselves one of the last to reap the benefits of a new iPhone.
The Carphone Warehouse, along with 02, are Apple's official mobile partners in the UK, have increased iPhone advertising in recent weeks to promote the deal and the benefits of buying an iPhone adds the Telegraph. O2 told the newspaper it had seen a "significant surge" in sales but refused to quantify the rise. As usual, Apple did not comment.