O2’s free iPhone offer fuels new Apple phone speculation

Editor’s Note: The following article is reprinted from Macworld UK. Visit Macworld U.K.’s blog page for the latest Mac news from across the Atlantic.

O2, Apple’s mobile phone partner in the UK, will offer the iPhone 3G for free as part of a new contract deal available from next month.

The move is thought to help encourage new users to sign up and shift stock of 3G phones in preparation for a new iPhone rumoured to be available in the next few months including speculation on a new mid-range nano-style device.

Last week Apple introduced iPhone 3.0 the next-generation operating system for the iPhone promising more than 100 new features.

From April 3, customers who sign up to the 24-month tariff can get the 8GB iPhone 3G for free at £34.26 per month and the 16GB iPhone 3G for free at 44.05 per month.

On the 18-month contract, the 8GB iPhone 3G costs £96.89 for the £34.26-per-month tariff, while the 16GB iPhone 3G costs £155.61 for the 34.26-per-month tariff or £57.74 for the 44.05-per-month tariff.

A break down of price plans is available on the O2 Digital News Centre blog.

“The iPhone has been hugely popular with over one million units sold in the UK,” said Peter Rampling, Marketing Director at Telefnica O2 UK.

“This new 24-month tariff option will meet the demand of customers who are looking for added value in exchange for committing to a longer contract.”

Meanwhile AT&T will begin selling iPhones without requiring a two-year contract, although at a price point the 8GB iPhone for $599 and the 16GB iPhone for $699 —that makes a contract appear more attractive.

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