O2 gives away iPhone, redefines "having cake and eating it"

As reported earlier this week, O2 is giving away the iPhone 3G for free on contract. It's no doubt a calculated bid to empty shelves of the current stock, in preparation for a new series of handsets in the Summer.

So that's good, right? You get a shiny new iPhone for free and take up a contract, O2 makes its money and clears the shelves of handsets they'll otherwise have trouble shifting in three months' time. Everyone's a winner.

Except. You'll only get your precious iPhone if you sign up to a two year contract. By 2011, Apple will have launched at least two new lines of handsets. You'll trundling about in your Triumph Dolomite while everyone else is wearing jet packs and living on the Moon.

We advise waiting until Summer; rumours of a budget iPhone are persistent, and the current disposal suggests there's something better coming along for £99 plus contract. If you can't wait, the free 8GB iPhone 3G will cost you £34 per month and the 16GB handset £44 per month.


  • Chris H.
    The 8gb iPhone has been 'free' for a while on a £45pm 18 month contract, and that is how they're currently promoting it on their site (http://shop.o2.co.uk/promo/iphoneindex). Wheres the info on a £[email protected] contract? Apple will update the iPhone on the same schedule as the ipod - ie all the bloody time to make you think you need the newest one. Now the MMS issue is addressed (for me) the 3g iPhone does all I would need.
  • Rob
    The new tariffs are here: http://dnc.o2.co.uk/home/2009/03/o2-iphone-24-month-tariff.html#more Completely agree on the lack of need to rush out and buy the next version of iPhone, especially as OS3, which is out in June, will be installable on the current (and original) iPhone. But (and it's a big but), 24 month contracts?!!! I think PAYG may be the way to go, although I don't like to idea of walking around with a phone that cost me up to £391.
  • Dane
    Come this time next year there will be a sea of unlocked iPhone 3G's on ebay as all first adopters 18 month contract will be up and they will all upgrade to the new model, you will probably be able to get it for £99 2nd hand then lol.
  • cheapskate
    I won't have an 18 month contract, so I'm certainly not having a bloody 2 year one. Phones date too quickly and the iStone only comes with a 12 month warranty. Add to that the sealed battery and you're contracting to a long period of uncertainty in a fast moving market. Oh, and I get bored easily too.
  • Pizza_D_Action
    18 month contracts are SHIT... I can't even think of a word to describe a 24 month contract.
  • Jim
    Wow, so your iphone 3G could break after a year and you'd have to keep paying the contract for another year?! What are they on!!!!
  • ex e.
    I worked for o2 up until the start of the month, they cover the handsets themselves outside the manufacturers' warranty period, however this doesn't apply to apple i phone or blackberry as their respective manufacturers have kept a grip on who does warranty service and replacement work on their products. O2 are going to be pushing a whole range of products in the up and coming months, one of which can only be described as an over glorified digital photo frame that tells you the weather, displays some news headlines and errm thats pretty much it. It's going to be offered in place of a new handset at upgrade point. I dont agree with lengthy contracts either, however its the manufacturers who are causing this with the charges they are levying on mobile phone networks for buying in the latest phones.
  • Stuwart D.
    This doesn't work from me. It just crashed my phone. I used http://www.iPhoneUnlock3G.net It seemed to work and now my iphone is unlocked.
  • The B.
    Has anyone been foolish enough to click the above link and why has it got past moderation? Anyways, back on subject I'm fairly happy with my 3G except for iTunes which frankly is worse than excrement.
  • Will
    @The Ral Bob - whats wrong with that link? :S
  • roggler
    We dont know if 'Apple will have launched at least two new lines of handsets' by 2011. I suspect the new one may be ready for Xmas. A sensible, well written article, hold on... ah right, it's done by a different guy.
  • Franco
    unlocking is free, look at http://blog.iphone-dev.org/
  • Daedalus
    Ok, once again Bitterwallet have over-hyped and under-read the real news. You've written this article as if the iPhone has only JUST been made free on contract, well shock horror, dun dun dunnnn! It's been free on contract since it's launch in June!! All O2 have done is move the price point down one tariff if you go on a 24-month contract, oh dear, the sky is going to fall down! 18-month contracts are the norm now, if you get bored of your phone half way through, then sell it and buy something else, how hard is that?... 24-month contracts have been around for some time now. Contrary to Bitterwallet's article, this is NOT an excuse to 'get rid' of the current iPhone, it's just a way of incorporating what's been part of O2's standard phone contracts for some time now, the ability to make it cheaper to longer commiting customers. As for "shock horror, TWO new iPhones in the time you'd have your 24-month contract", did you not think that it's only 6 months longer than the current 18-month contract? That's still one, almost two new iPhone's (and that's only a presumption) in the space of that contract, hardly a major leap. I wish sites like this wouldn't dramatise something as trivial as this, it's insane...
  • Defacto
    God these headlines are starting to sound like the news ticker in sim city 3000! Whats next? 'Money Does NOT Grow On Trees, Study Concludes'
  • kim-information e.
    Sounds like a good deal except for the two years contract. Its like getting left behind after everyone else has the new models.
  • Joff
    What a pointless non-offer by O2, who clearly believe their customers are mugs. I could offer ANY handset for "free", then just lock customers in to an uncompetitive contract term of 17.5 years, plus demand that they give me their first born son. Has anyone tried saying the name "Rumpelstiltskin" to O2 Customer Services?
  • Martin
    > What a pointless non-offer by O2, who clearly believe their customers are mugs. Many of their customers are mugs, and I bet this will work well for them.
  • £599 B.
    [...] free, unlocked iPhones were going to come sooner or later in the attempt to flush out 3G iPhones, legal or not. So it should be no surprise that Play.com has jumped on the bandwagon, officially [...]

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