The Apple Watch Series 3, which is now available to buy, adds cellular capabilities to the mix. This means it can function as an independent device, picking up texts and answering calls when out of reach of its companion iPhone - good news for runners who like to stay in the loop.
In the UK, the only network provider that can currently set you up with a plan for the Apple Watch Series 3 is EE. (You can either buy the watch from EE on contract, or buy it from someone else, such as Apple, and add it on to your EE phone plan at an additional tariff.)
Some readers have asked us how long EE is going to retain this exclusive contract, and when other providers will be added. In separate article we discuss the likelihood of Vodafone and O2 selling Apple Watch plans, but in this short article we're focusing on Three.
Does Three plan to sell Apple Watch 3 plans?
Not at the moment, but the firm is keeping its options open.
A Three spokesperson confirmed that EE is correct in its assertion (discussed below) that it's the only UK network that has the necessary network tech to support the watch, and that "Three currently has no plans to stock the Apple Watch Series 3, cellular or Wi-Fi, because of that reason."
The firm later got in touch again to clarify its position: "Currently we're not stocking [the Apple Watch Series 3], but it is something we're looking at for the future."
Why can't Three cover the Apple Watch now?
It hasn't got the necessary technological support.
In the past Apple has been known to set up exclusive deals with network providers as a way of negotiating favourable terms: the original iPhone was initially available only on O2 in the UK, a deal that O2 won by returning a large proportion of its revenues. That exclusive deal lasted for just over two years, before Orange were brought on board too.
But this is different, according to EE itself and corroborated by Three.
An EE spokesperson told us that "EE is the only UK network that has the capability to 'share' a number across a hard SIM (in the phone) and the Apple e-SIM (in the watch)." And Three itself corroborated this account to us, as discussed above.
At present this isn't something Three can offer - so it isn't simply a question of waiting for an exclusivity deal to expire. However, Three's updated statement - that this is something it's looking at for the future - suggests there is a possibility it can tackle this issue at some point.