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How to get an iPhone 4 in the UK

Your guide to buying a new iPhone 4 on Thursday

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If you're a lucky so-and-so that's decided to pick up an iPhone this Thursday, then you might be wondering where to get it from. 

This time round there's a plethora of options available. From a range of shops, service carriers, plans. From completely unlocked to 24-month contracts, and a wealth in-between. There's options for everyone.

Where can I get an iPhone 4?

First of all, if you want an iPhone on Thursday you can rule out online shopping. Apple's UK store is taking pre-orders, but isn't shipping until 14 July 2010. Stocks are reportedly low for online shoppers.

We think that Apple will have plenty of stock to service its retail stores, at least for day one. There's no way Apple will have hundreds of people camping outside its UK store only to tell them all there's no iPhone 4s to be had (at least we hope not).

We have heard reports that stocks are low at Carphone Warehouse. We imagine Apple Retail Stores will have more stock than carrier stores (such as O2, Orange, and Vodafone) but we can't confirm this. Either way you'll be heading to a store on Thursday if you want to pick up an iPhone 4.

You can get the iPhone from the following stores: Apple Retail; O2; Vodafone; Orange and Carphone Warehouse. Three and Tesco Mobile have also confirmed that they will be stocking the iPhone 4, but have not confirmed pricing or availability on 24 June.

While there are a number of different plans available (we'll get to them soon). You basically get the iPhone on one of three service flavours: SIM-free, Pay & Go, and Contract. SIM-Free is Apple Store only, Contract and Pay & Go are only available at carrier stores.

What iPhone 4 deals are available?

While there are a number of different plans available (we'll get to them soon). You basically get the iPhone on one of three service flavours: SIM-free, Pay & Go, and Contract. SIM-Free is Apple Store only, Contract and Pay & Go are only available at carrier stores.

SIM-Free

This is completely unlocked and comes without a SIM card. As far as we know the only place to get an iPhone SIM-free is from an Apple Store. Two models are available: 16GB for £499 or 32GB for £599.

Two models will be available. The white and black iPhone. Only the black model is available for pre-order. We do not know if the white iPhone will be available in stores on launch day.

SIM-only Plans for iPhone

If you buy a SIM-free iPhone you won't be able to use it without a SIM-card. We expect that like the iPad you will be able to pick up a SIM card from the Apple store and activate it when you get home (probably via a phone call).

Note that the iPhone 4 uses a Micro-SIM so you won't be able to use just any SIM card, it'll have to be one of the newer ones. But the SIM-free iPhone will work with any Micro-SIM card with phone and data so don't feel you're stuck with the options here.

With a SIM-free iPhone you can pick up either a monthly plan, a contract plan (that's paid monthly but you sign up for a period of time) or a Pay & Go plan.

O2 has a 30 day simplicity plan from £20 per month, or a 12 month plan from £15 per month. 

This is Vodafone's SIM-only plan. 30-day plans are £25 per month, 12 month contracts start at £20 per month.

 

Orange isn't currently listing any information on its SIM-only plan, although it is listing Pay & Go plans. We assume that it will be offering more information soon.

Three also hasn't announced any details of its iPhone 4 SIM-only plans. Although this might be worth keeping an eye on as they have a reputation for undercutting the other networks, and have a fairly comprehensive 3G system in place.

We don't expect Tesco to be selling SIM-only plans (although we could be wrong) as the Tesco Mobile plan works on the O2 network. We expect Tesco to announce iPhone 4 Pay & Go plus Contract plans after the launch. If it follows its iPhone route it will offer a plan with a higher upfront cost, but lower monthly tariff.

Pay And Go

This model is sold via a carrier, including: Orange, Vodafone, or O2. On this plan the iPhone is locked to a single carrier, but you don't have to pay a monthly charge. Instead you top up and pay for calls and texts as you go. 

O2

O2 has announced that Pay & Go will not be available at launch but at a later date.

Here is what O2 is offering Pay & Go Customers. You must top up at least £10 every month to get data. This contrasts with the current iPhone plan which offers 12 months free data for all Pay & Go customers. Here are the plans that O2 is offering:

  • Top up £10-£14. Get 300 texts and 500MB internet
  • Top up £15-£29. Get 500 texts and 500MB internet
  • Top up £30 or more. Get unlimited texts and 500MB internet
  • Once you've used up your allowance, texts are 10p each.
  • Picture messages are 30p each.

Note that there is no information on how much calls cost. Although these will be taken from the money that you have placed in credit that gives you the free texts and data.

Orange

Here is what Orange is offering. Note that Orange doesn't require a monthly payment, but does only offer a quite limited 250MB per month. But if you use your iPhone sparingly this might be a good option. There is no information on whether Orange will have Pay & Go iPhone 4 models at launch.

Paying for the iPhone handset on Pay & Go:

  • 16GB - £480
  • 32GB - £570

Data allowance:

  • 250MB on all contracts

Note, Orange uses animal names for its plans, for some bizarre reason. These offer free music, texts, weekend calls, or 10p texts or calls from abroad for 5p. More information is available on the site. Orange is also offering unlimited WiFi.

Vodafone

Vodafone isn't currently offering any details of its Pay & Go plans for iPhone.

Carphone Warehouse

Carphone Warehouse does not seem to be offering the Pay & Go or SIM-free model. it is offering all of the contract deals listed below, however.


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