Speaking to ZDNet UK ahead of
O2 has what Alder described as a "multiyear" exclusivity deal with Apple for U.K. users, though the operator refuses to divulge the exact length of the deal or the percentage of revenue going to Apple.
"We do want to keep it clear that this is a consumer launch on a consumer tariff," Alder said. "Our advice is: if you're in business, it's probably best to check the policy within your company becausefrom your business contract to the iPhone."
However, Alder said that, O2 would transfer the number. "There are people in business attracted by the iPhone," he added.
Asked for his opinion on the announcement that Google and dozens of other companies would be working toward a rival cellular platform,, Alder said he would welcome any initiative to improve customers' mobile Web-surfing experience. "If Google can do for mobiles what it has done for the Internet, that has to be a good thing," he said.
The iPhone has been criticized for the fact that it runs on a mobile-data technology called EDGE (Enhanced Data for GSM Environment),
O2, like all the other U.K. operators, has spent billions of dollars on its 3G network over the last half a decade.
O2's EDGE network will cover only 30 percent to 40 percent of the U.K. population by the end of this year, so, coverage will fall back to GPRS.
An alternative for users is Wi-Fi: O2 has a deal with hot-spot aggregator The Cloud for connectivity. Alder claimed that Wi-Fi coverage is now ubiquitous enough to provide connectivity to users unable to get a satisfactory experience on the cellular network.
"We want to be very open with people. If they ring up our customer service team, they can inquire, for their local area, what the EDGE coverage is," Alder said. "But 30 percent of homes have Wi-Fi. Work has Wi-Fi. Two out of three so-called Internet experiences are going to be over Wi-Fi because people know where those hot spots are."
Alder added that he is happy with onto one network in each country. Apple issues regular firmware updates to the handsets to gradually roll out new functionality and patch previous attempts to decouple the handset from its designated network.
The first iPhones in the United Kingdom will carry version 1.12 of the device's firmware, which will nullify
"Apple is clearly on top of those issues," Alder said. "But we would ask: why do people want to unlock their iPhones? We are offering a very good package with unlimited data and visual voice mail. If you choose to unlock it, you are not going to get those benefits."
Although the iPhone is targeted at consumers, it is expected that many of the devices
David Meyer of ZDNet UK reported from London.