back to article O2 starts giving away iPhones

UK operator O2 is going to start handing out free iPhones from April 3, for punters prepared to sign up to a two-year contract or pay almost £45 for 18 months. The new tariffs include the usual unlimited data and hotspot access, but those wanting the 16GB iPhone will have to commit to paying £44.05 every month for the next two …


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  1. Tom
    Thumb Down

    Two years

    Two years?!

  2. adnim

    44 Pounds a month

    for the next two years?

    I can get a free laptop for that

  3. My Opinion
    Thumb Down

    Not quite correct ...

    "As phone models age it's normal for the subsidy on them to increase"

    No - As phone models age it's normal for the ex-factory HANDSET PRICE to DECREASE.

    Same effect to the consumer of course.

  4. Alastair

    Re: Two years

    Welcome to the kind of contracts that are the norm in North America. Two years? Try three years.

    The UK operators have been desperate to move to this for a while now- I remember a few years ago when 18-month contracts started appearing from nowhere.

    No thanks.

  5. Mick F

    Not a bad idea

    if it was a decent phone

  6. Simon Buttress

    No thanks

    That is all.

    Joke icon, because that's what it is, it's only 12 days early

  7. Mark Daniels
    Thumb Down

    What the ????????????????

    A grand for that ? You do really have to be pulling my leg. And two years of Apple telling tyou what you can and can not have on that very same device, the device you've agreed to but for £1000 ?

    £1000 and no control ?

    Anyone, ANYONE, who buys one, is a fool.


  8. Roy Stilling


    They already give 'em away for free if you sign up for their top-end 18 month plans

  9. Richard Cartledge
    Jobs Halo

    Would never have another contract

    Thanks, I'll stick to paying £10 a month topping up my unlocked iPhone on PAYGO Orange with 300 free texts and what appears to be free internet.

  10. RichyS

    First Born

    My first born has been a pain in the arse today.

    Where do I sign-up?

  11. Jerome

    Good work

    Kudos for pointing out the £1057.20 figure, the true cost of the phone + contract over its lifetime. Now if we could only get some kind of law forcing the operators to quote these figures in their advertising. Perhaps failure to do so could be punished by forcing them to give customers the deal they're falsely advertising - i.e. your "free iPhone" really is yours for free.

  12. Anonymous Hero
    Jobs Horns

    Two years....jings, crivvens, help ma boab!

    I've been out of contract with vodafone now for over a year, it's great and I have a drawer full of ex-contract handsets (one for each day of the week) I can dip into if I get bored with the current model, or need a lightweight throwaway unit I can lose in the pub/sea/a drain when rolling drunk.

    But why-oh-why do we allow the networks to foist these long term lockins upon us? Finding a good value-for-money 12 month contract these days is like trying to find a 100% mortgage. This is why I'll be hanging onto my Palm Treo 750v instead of looking for something shiney and new.

    And as Mark Daniels rightly pointed out....a grand for something I have no control over (unless jail-broken)! If Samsung made folks only watch Sky One on their £1k TFT tellys there'd a riot.

    The mobile industry is seriously fucked up.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Oh, come on! Use your brains.

    I know Apple bashing is a favourite pastime of many here, but come on, what's all this crap whining about paying £1000 for the iPhone?

    You're paying £1000 for the calls, texts and unlimited data bundle. Plain and simple. Think about how much data traffic in particular the iPhone generates, and then think about how much you would pay for that at the standard £3 or so a megabyte most 'normal' phone contracts charge.

    I only use my iPhone quite lightly, but in just over 6 months, I have used over £1,000 'worth' of data at that £3 a meg price. So a grand for two years use, including 10 hours a month of calls and a load of texts really isn't that bad.

    This mindless Apple bashing is getting tiring - and no, I'm not a fanboi. If it's not for you, great, buy something else, but stop judging people who see it for the reasonably good deal that it is.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sorry, April 3rd...

    but aren't they doing this already?

  15. Anonymous Coward

    It's not £1k for a phone

    I'm not going near O2 with a bargepole and I don't want such a locked down phone but I'm not silly enough to think it's £1k for an iPhone! It's £1k for an iPhone, voice minutes, free texts and unlimited data (plus their wifi hotspots?) for two years. I think you'd pay a similar amount for other high end phones and without the unlimited data!

    Aren't 18 and 24 months the only available contract lengths with O2 now? That's what their website suggests...

  16. Lord of Dogtown
    Thumb Up

    IBM will give you a laptop for that

    For £44 a month IBM will give its employees a laptop

    However the terms are a little more restrictive, loads of great deals abound :)

    For the not so thick, most carriers will give you a free whatever you want with a new bundle (WII, LCD,PS3, other....)

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    £44.05 every month for the next two years?

    Clearly this is a definition of "free" with which I'm wholly unfamiliar.

  18. Anonymous Coward

    Fair Deal

    BUT - it's a big one - only if O2 allow the new iPhone 3.0 OS tethering to work. Then the monthly rates seem reasonable in the context of a good phone (only remaining weakness is a dire camera and flash).

  19. Simon

    What the hell

    O2 you BAFFLE me.

    Contract phones are supposed to be cheaper overall than pay as you go, but for O2s pricing scheme if you do the maths, its simply better value to go for pay as you go.

    A payg with 15 quid topup a week works out cheaper than a contract phone that gives you the same benefits, plus you can opt out at any time. I don't use a mobile to make many calls, and the main attraction of the iphone is the internet, which you get a years worth of free with PAYG and its not really expensive after that.

    I want an iphone and I will gladly sign a 1 year contract (max) if I get a better deal than PAYG, but its not the case. You'd have to be mad to even go contract. Do the maths!


  20. Simon

    Here's the maths

    O2 IPhone 16GB model

    Contract 1:

    Initial Cost 155.61

    Monthly Charge: 29.38

    75 minutes

    125 texts

    unlimited data/wifi

    Total cost for 18 months: 684.45

    PAYG 1:

    Initial cost: 401.27

    Top up 10 quid a month: 180 quid

    500 free mins to a favorite place PLUS 180 quids worth of minutes (at 5p/min thats 200 free minutes standard calls per month)

    6 months wifi: 60 quid (as you only get 12 months free)

    TOTAL COST for 18 months: 641.27

    With PAYG you get the flexibility to top up less if you don't need it, and cancel any time.

  21. Paul Gray

    RE: Oh, come on! Use your brains.


    "I only use my iPhone quite lightly, but in just over 6 months, I have used over £1,000 'worth' of data at that £3 a meg price. So a grand for two years use, including 10 hours a month of calls and a load of texts really isn't that bad."

    I just signed up to a £15 a month 12 month contract with Voda that gave me 150 minutes 500 texts and unlimited data, which is more than sufficient for my use. And I can use my existing handset (an unbranded HTC Touch Diamond), onto which I can install any software I want.

    No, can't see why I would 'upgrade' to a £45 a month contract with a phone that thinks it knows what I want better than I do.

  22. Anonymous Coward

    @Oh, come on! Use your brains.

    You will find that O2 offer an unlimited web usage bolt on which can be used with ANY phone, not just the Jesus Phone. If you're a heavy mobile data user then its a no brainer whatever phone you have.

    The only difference with the iPhone is that when you purchase it you're automatically switched to unlimited data without having to request it.

    As for the wifi hotspots... I stopped using them in airports (the only places where I would actually need a faster mobile data connection) as the speed was actually worse than 3G

  23. richard tanswell
    Thumb Down

    Maybe wrong but....

    Does it really matter about the length of a contract when O2 are the only network in the UK allowed for iPhone? If they dropped it to a year, what would you do after that? As far as I know, you can't take it to another network anyway and it can't be unlocked easily so unless you stayed with O2, the iPhone would be useless! This may have changed of course.

    What they need to stop providers doing is charging you to unlock your phone that you have essentially bought (even though it was advertised as being free in the first place) at the end of your contract.

    It becomes your phone on contact expiry so why should you have to pay to have it unlocked to work on another network if you choose to move? And it was "free" in the first place so another reason why you shouldn't have to pay! They should be unlocked automatically on the contract finishing!

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Learnt my lession with long contracts

    I bought an iPhone last May with an 18 month contract. At the time was working mile and half from my place of work so was walking in rather than taking the car, i needed an mp3 player and i needed a cellphone so the iPhone was perfect choice. Two months later my place of work changes to 25 miles away from home to a place that gets zero signal from O2. My iPhone is now just a very expensive iTouch :( Still on the plus side only 8 more months of throwing 35 quid down the drain

  25. Mark

    Where to buy an iPhone

    I'm not remotely interested in the iPhone but the gf's birthday is coming up and I know she's been eyeing one.

    I'd like to pay cash for it and allow her to use it on her current network (3), should I get a PAYG phone from O2 and unlock it or is there a third way?

  26. steogede

    Re: Two years....jings, crivvens, help ma boab!

    >> I've been out of contract with vodafone now for over a year, it's great and I have a drawer full of ex-contract handsets (one for each day of the week) I can dip into if I get bored ... But why-oh-why do we allow the networks to foist these long term lockins upon us? Finding a good value-for-money 12 month contract these days is like trying to find a 100% mortgage...

    Have you tried contacting Vodafone to see what the offer you if you renew your contract and don't upgrade your phone? Typically it appears that new customers get the best deals, however I remember a few years back when my father renewed his contract Three phone - he got a deal for £5 a month that would have been at least £20 if he were on a new contract with a subsidised phones.

    Personally, I think that phones should cost what they cost and not be locked to any network. Subsidies should be outlawed - not least because you can end up still paying the subsidy, long after you have had the benefit. But then I think that all 'special offers' should be outlawed (take BOGOF for e.g. why should you pay the full price for one, just because you don't want to 'get one free').

  27. Tim Spence

    Couple of points

    "£1000 for an iPhone?!?!?!?!?!?"

    As others have said, that's a very simplistic (and very Sun-like) way of looking at it. For that £1000, you're not just buying an iPhone and that's it, you're actually getting an iPhone, and a shitload of calltime and a shitload of texts, and "unlimited" internet usage.

    My second issue is actually with O2 - I got my iPhone 3G when it first came out, and that was £35 for 18 months, and £99 down. That's a total of £730. And if the article is to be believed (ie. it's now free if you sign up to *2 years* at £35 per month) the total cost over that time is £840 - in other words, the price hasn't come down, it's gone up.

  28. DR

    @Oh, come on! Use your brains.

    my thoughts exactly,

    if you were able to search pervious posts made here then you;d see that i'm not the greatest iphone lover, in fact I've said many time how crap I think the device is.

    but for all of that money you;re getting a lot more than just a shiny new phone.

    the plan I'm on, I pay £35 a month, (and gave my upgrade phone to a friend as I was happy with the one I had after taking out my original contract).

    I'm happy to pay £35 a month for what I use, and find that fair. certainly when I used PAYG I was using a lot more money each month, and when I'd got a cheaper contract that didn't have as much included goodies I'd frequently exceed my limits and end up paying more.

    so what we really have here is (for my example at least) and extra £10 per month, for a nice phone, or £180, and to be fair, that's still cheaper than buying one on ebay.

  29. Tim Cook
    Dead Vulture

    Beg pardon?

    There's just so many things wrong with this article, it's untrue. For starters, the iPhone 3G has been available for free from O2 on the top 18mth contract (circa £45pm) since the day it was released last June. Bearing that in mind, I'm at a loss as to what's actually new/different about these new tarriffs other than the fact that they're 2 years rather 18 months. What's the story here Reg? Are we readers supposed to investigate for ourselves?

    Apart from all that, and leaving aside my own horror at the idea of a 2 year contract, *surely* we all know the difference between the price of a phone and the cost of running it? Until the average cost of any other free phone on contract is a monthly £0 (something which hasn't happened even once in the last twenty years such products have been avaialble) it seems a little disingenious to be rolling up the cost of an iPhone contract and presenting it as some kind of unique form of extortion imported direct from Cupertino.

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