LONDON (Reuters) - Mobile phone groups O2 and Carphone Warehouse CPW.L have cut the price for the most basic version of Apple Inc's AAPL.O iPhone in Britain by 100 pounds ($197) ahead of the expected launch of a new model.
The two groups said the 8 gigabyte phone would be available for 169 pounds until June 1, while the 16GB phone will remain priced at 329 pounds.
O2 said the offer would be available on the original iPhone tariffs which start at 35 pounds per month and the operator expects it to create additional momentum for O2’s fastest selling device.
Some analysts have questioned whether sales could soften at the high end of the handset market, but Carphone’s Finance Director Roger Taylor told Reuters on Tuesday the company had not seen any signs of this.
While sales of the iPhone may have slowed since the initial launch, the announcement on the price cut is more likely to be linked to Apple’s expected launch later this quarter of a third-generation high-speed version of the iPhone.
Apple declined to comment on this. T-Mobile reduced the price for the smaller iPhone in Germany earlier this month.
“More and more this is starting to look like they want to clear stock of an older model, with a looming revision to the iPhone which will likely include 3G,” CCS Insight analyst Ben Wood told Reuters.
“But also we think the iPhone has slowed down during the first quarter and we think this (a 3G launch) should give sales a bit of a lift.”
Mobile operator O2, which is owned by Telefonica TEF.MC, and retailer Carphone Warehouse secured the deal to sell the iPhone in Britain last year.
But both groups have since been reluctant to divulge any sales figures.
A spokeswoman for Apple said this was an “O2-led promotion” and the price would not change in its retail stores.
Reporting by Kate Holton; Editing by Paul Bolding
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