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Paid-for extras planned for 3G iPhone queue

Apple partner in queue-boosting scheme

Mobile operator TeliaSonera planned to hire 150 extras to stand in line for the Swedish iPhone 3G launch "to create a better atmosphere and excitement", according to an email message obtained by MacWorld Sweden.

The event company that sent the message confirmed its content as genuine in an interview with the magazine.

"We sent out an email on Wednesday, but the client decided to cancel at the last minute," said Pilar Baettig, human resources assistant at PS Communication.

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Under the title 'Urgent: Swedish launch of a new design product - Stockholm, Gothenburg, Malmö (150 people)', the email reads: "A new product from a well known IT company will be launched in Sweden, and we need your help. Tomorrow (Thursday 10/7) a lot of people will gather outside Telia stores, who want to get their hands on the coveted product. We are now looking for 50 extras in each city to act as a people waiting in line to create a better atmosphere and excitement for the product. You only have to stand in line, and if an unusual amount of people turn up to stand in line for real you won't have to stay. You will get paid for the whole evening no matter what, and you will also get coffee/hot chocolate, hot dogs, give-aways et cetera."

TeliaSonera denies it planned to use extras to bulk up waiting lines for the iPhone, but had contacted an event company regarding something else, according to a spokeswoman.

In the end the operator needn't have worried. Swedish Apple fans have been waiting since the announcement of the iPhone on January 9 last year, and didn't want to wait any longer. There were 400 people standing in line outside Telia's flagship store in Stockholm when it opened at midnight between Thursday and Friday, and another 200 people were queuing in Gothenburg and Malmö.

For more news on the 3G iPhone and other smarphones, see Mobile Advisor

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