Vodafone has announced that it will start selling the iPhone in the UK on January 14th, 2010. The announcement makes Vodafone the latest UK phone network to offer the iPhone, following the lengthy exclusive deal between Apple and O2, and more recently the release of the iPhone 3GS on Orange.
The cheapest tariff will be £30 a month on a 24 month contract, with handset charges ranging from £59 (for the iPhone 3G 8GB) to £239 (for the iPhone 3GS 32GB). O2 and Orange offer fairly similar entry level tariffs – £34.26 and £29.36 respectively – but each comes with a free iPhone. Vodafone has responded with a £35 a month contract over two years, which includes a free iPhone 3GS 8GB handset. You can start to see that they are all ‘much of a muchness’ but the competition over time should hopefully drive the deals down further.
There is to be a 1GB monthly data limit on mobile Web usage with Vodafone, compared with Orange’s fair use policy which is in the region of 750MB per month, and O2’s unlimited data offering. Vodafone has also introduced a charge for customers wishing to use the iPhone as a broadband modem (with prices starting from £5 for 500 MB).
Vodafone will join O2 in offering unlimited Wi-Fi access, whereas Orange include BT Open-Zone Wi-Fi access within their monthly fair usage policy.
In the wake of the US recently suffering from ‘iPhone saturation’, there have been global concerns that mobile networks are struggling to cope with demand as more consumers choose Internet-enabled smartphones such as the iPhone 3GS.
The Chief Executive of Vodafone UK, Guy Laurence, has responded by saying that Vodafone has been preparing its network for more than 12 months for it to be able to accommodate the release of the iPhone.