O2 Runs Out of 16, 32GB iPhone 3GS Units in UK

In spite of an upcoming price war and a potential influx of iPhone handsets being returned, O2′s UK division has temporarily run out of both the 16 and 32 GB iPhone 3GS models from the company’s online store. According to The Telegraph, most physical outlets are said to have been without phones for two weeks. Supplies of the 32GB model were only depleted on or after September 28th.
An O2 spokesman attributes the shortage to “extremely high levels of demand,” such that resupplies can quickly disappear. The company has experienced more than one sellout since the 3GS launch, in spite of promises from Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer that the company would work to address continuing supply problems around the world.

Staff from a London O2 store say that the carrier should have more iPhones at retail by the end of this week, or possibly the beginning of the next.

The shortages may raise questions about plans for even more iPhone carriers in the UK, in the form of Orange this year and Vodafone in 2010. A research director at Forrester Research suggests, however, that Apple will probably expand its supply chain to cope. “I don’t think it would expand if it couldn’t meet consumer demand, as that would lead to extreme consumer dissatisfaction — which compared to its peers, Apple is usually good at avoiding,” says Mark Mulligan.

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