Orange has become the first UK mobile operator (other than O2) to launch the iPhone on its network, after it confirmed the official release date and pricing plans
Back on 9 November 2007, the iPhone hit UK shores after Apple and O2 signed a two year exclusivity deal. During the intervening period, both Apple and O2 have faced criticism for the hefty charges associated with the iPhone.
Orange however always looked like it would be the first UK operator, outside O2, to feature the iPhone on its network, after O2’s two year exclusivity contract expired.
Therefore it came as little surprise on Monday when Orange unveiled its pay monthly, pay-as-you-go and business tariffs for iPhone 3G as well as the 3GS.
Business users can get their hands on iPhone 3GS for £30 per month on a two-year contract, with a 16GB device costing £87 and a 32GB device costing £175. This includes 600 minutes, 200 texts, and unlimited mobile internet browsing.
For consumers, the cheapest tariff for the 3GS is nearly £29.36 per month with the 16GB device costing £125 (£225 for the 32GB version).
A pay-as-you-go iPhone 3G is priced at £343, while the 3GS costs £440 or £539, depending on price plan.
The deal means that all 402 Orange shops in the UK will now be able to stock the iPhone in the important run up to Christmas. Orange said that selected stores will extend their opening hours to accommodate demand.
Just how much of a boost the iPhone will give Orange over its UK rivals remains to be seen. Vodafone has previously said that it will not be shipping the iPhone in the UK and Ireland until early 2010.
A call to Vodafone by eWEEK Europe confirmed that Vodafone is still planning on a early 2010 launch, missing the Christmas rush.
The chief executive of 3 said recently that the UK mobile operator plans to offer the iPhone to its subscribers during 2010.