UK iPhone Fervor

11:00 AM -- Telefónica UK Ltd. got iPhone fans all hot and bothered on Monday morning when it sold out of the new 3G devices soon after it launched online pre-ordering here in the U.K. (See It's Only a Phone.)

There was so much demand for the iconic devices that O2’s Website crashed at one point.

An O2 spokeswoman said at the peak of activity there were 13,000 transaction attempts per second through the operator’s online store. The 16-GByte devices sold out around lunch time and the 8-GByte devices sold out early afternoon yesterday, according to the spokeswoman.

O2 had set aside a certain amount of 3G iPhones for pre-ordering and reserved the rest to sell in its retail stores starting this Friday. But the operator would not say how many iPhones have been ordered so far or how many are still available for sale.

200,000 people had registered interest in the 3G iPhones with O2, compared to 35,000 registrations for the 2G devices last year. The online pre-ordering was open to anyone yesterday, but those who had registered interest got a text message alerting them that the devices could be ordered from 8:00 a.m. Monday morning.

For eager iPhone enthusiasts, ordering online sure beats having to do this. (See iPhone Invades UK and iPhone UK Launch: Jobs Has 'Upset Girlfriends'.)

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Unstrung

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