3 UK Abandons Multimedia Ambition, Fancies iPhone Carriage

Robert Andrews
Friday, September 5, 2008; 8:00 AM

3 UK wants to pick up the iPhone if O2's exclusive UK deal with Apple ( NSDQ: AAPL) comes to an end, says CEO Kevin Russell (via Guardian.co.uk). With Apple now having abandoned carrier exclusivity in some territories like Russia and Czech Republic to meet its sales target, who'd bet against another network being given the chance?

Russell also said 3, the UK's number five network with just over 3.7 million active users, has abandoned its multimedia pretentions. The company launched under chief executive Colin Tucker in 2003 and made much of its video-calling capabilities and mobile football highlights. But pragmatic Russell wants to stick to the basics: "We are quite simple ? we provide communications-based services. I do not see us pushing to create a whole series of revolutionary behaviors.

He was comfortable with handset makers moving in to the content arena: " I am not sure that we have done enough to own the content space. If Nokia ( NYSE: NOK) or someone else comes forward with a product which provides a better experience than we can provide, we need to be open to that."

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