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O2 upgrading network to EDGE - for iPhone?

updated 04:40 pm EDT, Fri September 7, 2007

O2 EDGE Upgrade

British cellular provider O2 is in the midst of adding EDGE mobile Internet access to its network, an internal memo leaked to Engadget reveals. The company's technicians are reportedly upgrading its GPRS towers to incorporate support for the protocol across its entire network and is focusing primarily on larger cities as well as areas that have been more likely to use the slower GPRS format in the past. A precise completion date was not specified, but the rollout is slated to finish within "a few weeks," according to the note.

Reasoning for the upgrade was similarly omitted from the document, though speculation from numerous sources strongly suggests a connection to a UK release of the iPhone. O2's network already supports 3G-class Internet access through the HSDPA and UMTS standards and so would have no immediate reason to adopt EDGE, which is often considered 2.5G and frequently goes unsupported by Europe-only phones.

O2 has already mentioned that it was in talks with Apple and has allegedly seen the personal involvement of its chief executive in trying to secure an exclusive deal for the UK, where Orange, T-Mobile, and Vodafone could also make bids to offer the device. Apple has stopped short of announcing an exact window for when the iPhone will be available in the country but has said it would make a version available in the region during the fourth quarter of the year.

by MacNN Staff




  1. as2

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Backwards Progress

    I'm already an O2 customer, and have been pretty happy with their services over the years. Especially since their roll out of 3G. I don't use it for video calls, but the data speeds certainly are beneficial.

    This step of moving to support EDGE just seems like backward progress to me, and will undoubtedly see other services suffer. As much as I would love to get an iPhone when my contract runs out at the end of the year, I don't think 'downgrading' to EDGE is going to help. I would much rather that they work with Apple and invest in giving the iPhone both 3G, and true SMS/MMS support, rather than spending it on a technology that they have already surpassed.

    Even with the recent price cuts in the US, an iPhone in the UK is almost certainly going to be a dam sight more expensive, and I just can't justify spending that much money on something that is effectively feature crippled.

  1. snyder73

    Joined: Dec 1969


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  1. imagine engine

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Going backwards?

    I'm suprized that O2 doesn't already support EDGE. Did they just turn it off when the carrier whent with supporting 3G? Anway, why would O2 feel the need to spend added money on supporting EDGE when 3G and 3.5G is what most manufacturers are working with on their smartphones? Carriers help influence what manufacturers make based on customer feedback. Since the majority of their customers use 3G the company should help to pressure Apple to get with current technology by providing a 3G chip in the iPhone.

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