The best laid plans of mice and men “gang aft agley,” as they say. iPhone carriers as well, apparently. Because British wireless carrier O2 claims it was well prepared for the iPhone pre-order event that felled its Web site earlier this week. It just wasn’t well prepared enough. In an email to customers today, O2 apologized for the failure of its online ordering system, explaining there was little it could do to prepare for the 13,000 orders per second that overwhelmed it. That’s right: 13,000 orders per second.
“We had invested heavily to add a huge amount of additional capacity, 250 times its normal rate, and backup systems,” O2 said in a statement. “We tested this carefully in advance. The massive simultaneous crush exceeded even our worst-case assumptions. Demand was at 13,000 orders per second. Frankly, we have to admit we just weren’t prepared for this unprecedented level of demand. No website is.”
O2 Sees Unprecedented Demand for iPhone 3G
O2 today announced that Apple’s highly anticipated iPhone 3G will go on general sale from 8.02 a.m. Friday in O2, Apple and Carphone Warehouse retail stores. To ensure fairness, O2 will sell the device on a strictly first-come, first-served basis to both new and upgrading customers in all retail outlets.
Demand for the revolutionary device is already at unprecedented levels, far in excess of the original iPhone. ‘We’ve never seen any mobile device create the excitement and demand of the iPhone 3G,’ said Ronan Dunne, CEO of O2 in the UK. ‘We want to ensure that everyone who wants an iPhone 3G can get one, so we’ll be working with Apple to continually replenish our supplies throughout the summer.’
This morning, customers who had pre-registered their interest in iPhone 3G were given the opportunity to purchase via O2’s online shop (http://shop.o2.co.uk) a limited stock of devices that had been set aside. The response was so great that the online store completely sold out of iPhone 3Gs within just a few hours. Though O2 had invested several million pounds to increase the order capacity of the site (with order processing capacity increased by over 250 times its normal rate), at times the site still couldn’t process the sheer weight of demand.
Details of when new supplies of iPhone 3Gs will be available via the O2 online shop will be updated regularly via the website.
Business customers can, from today, also start placing orders for iPhone 3G through O2 business channels. Delivery timings will be communicated when an order is placed.
iPhone 3G combines all the revolutionary features of iPhone with 3G networking that is significantly faster than the first-generation iPhone. The device has built-in GPS for expanded location-based mobile services, iPhone 2.0 software (which includes support for Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync) and runs the hundreds of third-party applications already built with the recently released iPhone SDK. These can be accessed via iTunes.
The 8GB iPhone 3G will be available for free to customers opting for the £45 or £75 tariffs and £99 on the £30 and £35 per-month tariffs. The 16GB model will cost £159 on the £30 and £35 tariffs, £59 on the £45 tariff and it will be free on the £75 tariff. All customers will continue to receive unlimited UK data browsing over O2’s mobile network and unlimited access to over 9,000 Wi-Fi hotspots through both The Cloud and BT Openzone.
Existing iPhone customers can upgrade early to the iPhone 3G through O2 channels by re-signing a new 18-month contract, taking advantage of the same great offer as new customers. They will then be able to give their existing 2G iPhone to a friend, family member or colleague, who can transfer onto an iPhone tariff if they are an existing O2 Pay Monthly or business customer, stick in their existing O2 SIM and buy the appropriate Bolt Ons for unlimited data, or buy an iPhone Pay & Go SIM card from 11 July offering unlimited data and unlimited Wi-Fi access to The Cloud and BT Openzone hotspots for £10 per month. Full information is available on o2.co.uk/iPhone.
The iPhone 3G will launch on O2 Pay and Go (Prepay) in time for the Christmas shopping period, with pricing details to be confirmed closer to launch.”