back to article Apple, O2 to release PAYG iPhones this month

O2 will release the iPhone 3G on a pay-as-you-go tariff on 16 September, the carrier has just announced. The 8GB version of the phone will cost £350 - just £50 less than the 16GB model. It'll be sold by O2, Carphone Warehouse and Apple. O2 said that the purchase price includes a year's unlimited browsing - an "excessive usage …


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  1. Joe K


    £350 for 8GB?! Damn thats pricey.

    Considering that its little more than an iTouch (£169.99) with a baseband and GPS module stuffed in, they're gouging the hell out of us to make up for the lack of contract.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Limited unlimited

    O2 says: "Unlimited text and minutes are subject to an excessive usage policy."

    Either it's unlimited, or it's not....

    Mine's the one with a dictionary in one pocket, and the ASA guidelines in the other.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    SIM locked?

    Any word about using it with a different carrier? Surely if you're buying it out of a contract and unsubsidised you should be able to get it SIM-unlocked?

  4. Thomas

    @Joe K

    It's an iPod Touch, with baseband and GPS (though the GPS may be in the Touch by then, it's a year old so likely to be updated soon-ish), and costs £250 more than buying one on a £30 or £35 contract. So it's like plumping for the £30/moth tariff but paying it all in advance and getting the phone for free, but losing out on minutes and texts. Or something.

    Actually, you're right, that's not a very good deal.

  5. Richard Tobin

    O2 to lose monopoly?

    it's been suggested that O2 will shortly lose their UK monopoly on the iPhone. If so, it would explain why they're starting PAYG earlier than had been predicted: to grab as many customers while there's still no choice.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    £350 locked or €499/£405 unlocked ? Hmmm

    Steep for a locked phone I think...

    considering if you happen to be visiting Italy you can get an unlocked PAYG 8GB 3G iPhone for $499 which today equates to about £405

  7. Nick
    Paris Hilton


    Well, this is good news. Hopefully once the l33t haxxors get their hands on the PAYG iphones (remember they're all about 13 or 14yrs old), the sim unlock solution shouldn't be too far behind.

    Paris, because at the moment, she opens easier than an iPhone 3G :)

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Halo

    No Visual Voicemail

    You don't get Visual Voicemail on PAYG either for some reason...

    Re: SIM locked?

    It's almost certainly going to be SIM-locked. O2 SIM lock their PAYG phones but generally do not SIM-lock their Contract phones (excepting the iPhone).

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    not too bad?

    @joe K

    if £350 is too much you could always pay £639 on an 18 month contract (£30 tariff)

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    No thanks...

    At that price, I can't see many takers!

    I'd say most PAYG users are unlikely to fork out £350.

    A year ago I finally got out of a nasty Vodafone contract and bagged a K800i for £120 - that's the most I'd ever be prepared to spend on a phone, regardless of features.

    Your also still SIM locked, which is another reason I went PAYG - I can choose whatever operator I want.

    Apple really do not understand the European market - probably because the US mobile market is so backward.

  11. Richard


    But wait that £350 appears to include 12 months of unlimited data access, which is worth more than the £15 a month extra cost above an iPod touch and the 16gb version looks even better value.

    As someone who needs data and not text or voice (£10 topup lasts me at least a year), then this offer looks quite good.

    Glad I waited !

  12. Bruce Robinson

    iphone PAYG

    With all the issues concerning the Iphone 3G I'm not surprised that O2 are trying to shift them now. It is still a little too delicate and fussy to be a real alternative to a normal PAYG phone. Lets face it most PAYG users aren't going to be using loads of data...they'll want an easy to use phone with a good high res camera and video, that allows MMS and SMS forwarding and cut and paste so they share jokes etc.

    Yes it's easy to use, but not when it comes to those simple things that most normal phones do and many PAYG customer want. At £300 + it's not a good or cheap option.

    I love my Iphone 3G by the way, but I'm slightly geeky and willing to put up with silly software issues. In addition I'm not fussed about the camera functionality or MMS, but I know loads of people who are, and they are mostly PAYG folk.

  13. Tom Simnett
    Jobs Horns

    OK, now it's getting a little ridiculous...

    "Unlimited Wi-Fi is included for the first 12 months after activation too."

    So you lose Wi-Fi after 12 months?!

  14. Tim C
    Thumb Up

    Lots up front but...

    It's not so bad, it's just that it's £350 in one go...

    I've always been on PAYG as I hate being tied into a contract and spending money on "free" stuff that I don't use.

  15. pctechxp

    here we go again

    excessive usage policies apply to stop people taking the piss, for example the text spammers we loathe so much or would you rather they be allowed to continue with impunity?

    FUPs apply to give providers redress where someone's actions degrade the service quality of others or in extreme cases can destabilise the network and plenty of you moan as do I about bad ISP services or mobile service

    For most people these figure are unlimited, if you are a p2p merchant or have to watch video 24/7 then YOU are the reason that these policies have to exist so shut up will you.

    I thought a great deal of the readership worked in IT, come on this is basic bandwidth management.

  16. Hywel Thomas
    Thumb Down

    PAYG / Fanboy

    Does nothing to tempt me. The only thing that would tempt me would be a regular long commute by train. Otherwise I just wouldn't have any use for the data bit while out and about.

    The current contracts would pay for my PAYG bill for over 10 years.

  17. Bernie Broughton

    unlimited Wi-Fi

    'Unlimited Wi-Fi is included for the first 12 months after activation too'

    Don't quite understand this? My N82 doesn't have any Wi-Fi restrictions with 3.

  18. Dale

    @Limited unlimited

    The ASA has already said that they aren't interested in the limited/unlimited argument unless the advertiser forgets to mention in the small print that when he said "unlimited" what he meant was "limited, actually".

  19. Mike Richards Silver badge

    Reassuringly expensive

    Looks like Apple are trying to make sure it doesn't become the sequel to the RAZR chavfone.

  20. This post has been deleted by its author

  21. marc


    >"So you lose Wi-Fi after 12 months?!"

    I am guessing that means you can't log onto their public wifi networks in places such as coffee shops. You could always pay thr £20 or whatever T-Mobile/The Cloud charge.

    They surely can't disable a device function all together

  22. Adam C
    IT Angle

    'Unlimited Wi-Fi'

    The 'unlimited wi-fi for a year' is for 'The cloud' or BT Openzone hotspots you muppets :P They're hardly going to disable the Wi-Fi after 12 months... come on people you're supposed to be switched on!

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Unlimited wifi

    Whilst I've not checked, the unlimited wifi will probably be access to BT Openzone and Cloud hotspots for 12 months included in the £350 - after 12 months you have to pay to use them.

    incidentally the cloud offer an iPod touch plan of unlimited access to the cloud network for around £3 a month. so the worth of the free wifi is probably about £60.

    Of course worth doesn't necessarily mean value...

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's just a guess but is unlimited wifi....

    Like the title says, just a guess, but would this 12 months wifi access refer to something like the cloud, or btopenzone?

    In fact, having just double checked the O2 website, it says:

    "*Unlimited data and Wi-Fi applies to use in the UK only, subject to excessive usage policy. Unlimited Wi-Fi is available at any of the Wi-Fi hotspots from our partners The Cloud or BT Openzone. Terms apply. "

    So that explains that one.

  25. Richard


    You don't lose wifi access ... you just don't get FREE wifi you have to pay for it if you use Openzone, starbucks, the cloud etc.

    So for £350 you get a £200 iPod touch + unlimited 3g data for 12 months (worth £360) + unlimited public wifi (included in the £360 or £120 for 12 months of Openzone) .... plus £60 for an extra 6 months to make 18 months use. If you want lots of minutes and texts then add £180 for 18 months and that's a total of £590 over 18 months ....

    Compare that with a contract iphone of £99 + 18 x £30 and you save £50 with the PAYG version. Save £100 on the 16gig version.

    So for my requirements I would get a free iPhone with £10 of airtime credit all for £30 per month for a year long "contract" !

  26. Bruce Robinson

    Apple Support

    One thing that seems to have been overlooked here is that Apple support these phones with a network of Apple stores and Apple Geniuses who will fix and train folks how to get the most out of the device.

    My Iphone broke the other day when the docking pins got bent whilst using a mains dock. The Apple store checked the phone, wrote it off there and then, and gave me a new phone for free no questions asked. That is what I call support. Carphone warehouse et al won't do that for you if your Samsung breaks or Nokia goes t*ts up.

    You're buying into more than's the service and support of Apple Stores as well. They are pretty special.

  27. DJGM

    To hell with that . . . !

    £350-400 for iPhone 3G on pre-pay = total RIP OFF ... F*** that!

  28. Stephane Mabille

    @Bruce Robinson: Apple support


    Can we talk about that in a year or 18 months, once your battery is dying and need to be replaced.... My Nokia, I can buy a replacement one every 20 yards in any high street; your iPhone, you can fork out £££ (probably around £100) to exchange it towards a refurbished ones with a fresh battery (but probably a scratched screen).

    It's also that Apple support ;-)

  29. Richard


    When are they going to start selling them online?

    "Walking" to a "shop" in a "high street" is all so very 1990.

  30. MrM


    Regardless of your explanation - 'Unlimited' should not be used to describe a service which is indeed 'Limited'

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is not PAYG as you pay upfront!

    How can O2 say this is PAYG as you pay about £120 for the 12 month data service? This is a contract for 12 months! A complete rip-off

    Also, what is this with O2/3G iPhone TV advertising in the UK? They are swamping us with adverts. Never seen so many adverts for a technology product ever.

  32. Simon Ward
    Thumb Down

    Re: Apple support

    "One thing that seems to have been overlooked here is that Apple support these phones with a network of Apple stores and Apple Geniuses who will fix and train folks how to get the most out of the device."

    Handy if you live in the big city, but if you live in the provinces you're pretty much fucked which invariably means packaging the thing off to Ireland for an indeterminate period of time (assuming things haven't changed since I last used Apple support to replace a knackered keyboard on my old iBook - to their credit, I got the replacement back inside 3 working days)

    £350 for a PAYG phone is too much, and the fact that it's O2 would be a dealbreaker for me even if I *was* interested.

  33. Ascylto

    Oh, yeah?

    Remember the Motorola V3?

    When it was introduced it had a price of $800!

    The price of the iPhone will come down over time just as now you can get a V3 for under £20!

    Stop whingeing. Early adopters have always paid a high price for what they want.

  34. Anonymous Coward


    I've been waiting for this phone for a while now and frankly I don't think I'll be taking O2 up on their "generous" offer.

    I suspect sales have not gone that great, we werent expecting this until the lead up to Christmas.

    It's also about time the office of fair trading (or whomever) got stuck into this "unlimited" advertsing crap, if it has any restrictions/limits then its not unlimited. Even my 10 year old son understands that basic concept.

    Usage policies my fecking arse. Just tell it like it is.

    I was led to believe that 2 people complained about the Apple ad and that was enough to get it pulled. How many people have complained about the "unlimited" used by ISP's for some 5 years?? I'd hazard a guess and say its more than 2.

  35. Richard

    Battery non-issue

    Oh please ... the only reason to have a replaceable battery is to swap out batteries during the day .. personally never had to need to do that on any phone as I stick my phones on charge when travelling in the car or at a desk or at home etc. Having a separate battery means extra batteries to recharge anyway .. Nokia used to do separate chargers but I've not seen any separate charging units for standalone batteries for years.

    Apple will replace the iphone battery, when out of warranty, for £62.29 inc VAT ... and that is a professional fitting with guarantee etc ... okay the downside is that it takes 5 business days to get it back once you send it off. (

  36. JayKay

    Battery's cost how much?

    @Stephane Mabille,

    Come on Stephanie, at least do a bit of research... A replacement battery for an iPhone is £55, plus £7.29 Postage, but if you take it to an Apple Store, it's £55.

    A good deal less than "about £100" isn't it. I bet you think Macs are more expensive than PCs too hey.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Kids Kids Kids

    Playstation 3 last year (around £350). iPhone this year. Daddy doesn't like to see Joshua upset because his friend Harry has got something he wants but thinks Joshua might go a bit silly if he's allowed on a monthly contract. Presumably that's why it comes with the contract that gets you cheap calls from home (or at least your bedroom/den).

  38. Anonymous Coward



    "Change your data settings. Your iPhone is automatically set to Pay Monthly, so you'll need to change the settings to Pay & Go to get the things like mobile internet to work.

    Here's how:

    * Go to settings menu, choose General

    * Choose Network, then Cellular Data Network

    * In the APN box, change to - you don't need to change the user name and password"

    So are O2 changing their PayandGo internet access? Isn't it currently crippled so that you can only get basic web access? What about people who want to download apps from the apps store that use network protocols other than http on port 80?

    I got a PAYG SIM from O2 to put in my old TyTn (it runs TomTom with traffic updates) - I was told that the Pay And Go Internet 'service' would be ok for 'basic' browsing but if I wanted to use any site where I had to log in I would have 'problems'. You have to also set it to use a web proxy on port 8080.

  39. Dave S


    erm, they are. You pay for the flashy casing and annoying mouse.

  40. Luke


    You are missing the point.

    Obviously there should be management. Just don’t call the deal ‘unlimited’ when there is clearly a limit. If it is 1gb call it 1gb, if it is 5gb call it 5gb. It really isn’t much to ask.

  41. JayKay
    IT Angle

    @ Dave S

    erm, they're not. Try speccing SIMILAR hardware and you will see what I mean.

    Plus, you get OS X - you can't put a price on reliability.

  42. Craig Watkins


    I have a 2g iphone on O2 PAYG and i have inlcuded the wifi that you are talking about but it isn't just limited to wifi it also includes the edge and gprs internet connection, so please don't forget that.

    for me i pay it as a £10 bolt on, if i don't top up the necessery amount i don't get it simple as that. if i were to top it up the following month then i would pay the £10 for that month simple as really.

    don't really see what the fuss is with the fair usage policy, who really in there right mind is going to sit for hours and hours on end using the iphone for internet, i certainly don't?

  43. Glenn Gilbert

    The article's misleading regarding pricing

    The 'unlimited' pricing *only* relates to calling from one postcode, e.g. home. All other calls, e.g. using it as a mobile phone, cost way more.


    Landlines & O2 mobiles: 25p/min for the first 3 mins/day then 5p/min for the rest of the day

    Other UK network mobiles: 25p/min

    Text messages: 10p/message

    International calls from UK: £1.50/min or buy the International Caller Bolt On

    That's massively more expensive than the 35/45/75 tariffs with their included data, minutes, text and cheap international calls/European roaming.

    The real laugh is the "browsing" charges at £3/Mb! To quote their smallprint: "1MB is equivalent to browsing 150-200 pages" - complete rubbish as these days most pages will load up around 100Kb, e.g. 10 pages or 30p/page.

    Finally -- can't find the reference but tant pis -- unlimited data browsing is £8.50+vat (=£10) per month as a bolt on (this is the price they've quoted in the iPhone upgrade sim which all iPhone upgraders have got for their old 1st gen iPhone.

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