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UK iPhone pricing and plans

TechCrunch UK gets the press release with the prices for the new iPhone in the UK and posts it instantly:

"The 8GB model will cost just £99 on a new £30 per month tariff and the existing £35 per month tariff. Consumers choosing either the £45 or £75 per month tariffs will get the 8GB iPhone 3G for free. The 16GB iPhone 3G will cost £159 on the £30 and £35 tariffs, £59 on the £45 tariff and it will be free on the £75 tariff. All customers will continue to receive unlimited data browsing over O2’s HSDPA network and unlimited access to 9,500 Wi-Fi hotspots through both The Cloud and now BT Openzone**. Both the 8GB and 16GB iPhone 3G will also be available for O2 Pay & Go customers with pricing to be confirmed in the coming weeks. Fit for Business iPhone 3G will also be available on current O2 business tariffs as a monthly bolt on, with the device available for free on the majority of business tariffs on a 24 or 36 month contract. iPhone 3G business customers can also receive many of the same benefits as existing O2 business customers including unlimited calls between O2 customers, unlimited calls to ten landlines, shareable minutes and texts between users plus multi-user billing and activation and free, 24×7 access to business customer care specialists."

There’s lots of interesting points here. First, O2 is continuing the all-in-one pricing with unlimited data, whereas AT&T is splitting the data part of the package out. That’s sensible: the trend in the UK is towards included (or very cheap) unlimited data packages.

Second, adding iPhone on as a bolt-on for business tariffs is a stroke of genius, although, of course a lot depends on how much that bolt-on costs. Given the number of small businesses, who often look for the same things in a phone as consumers, this one will sell well.

Next, adding BT Openzone to the free WiFi networks usable by iPhone customers is a great move. Because of its tie-in with FON, BT has vastly expanded its number of hot-spots, adding a whopping 100,000 in the last year. Not only will this be a huge convenience for iPhone users (I often find a BT Openzone network where there’s nothing from The Cloud) but it will reduce the strain on O2’s 3G network. With many of those new BT FON Openzones in residential areas, it will mean that even customers who don’t have WiFi at home may find one within range, thanks to their neighbours.

I initially thought that John Gruber was being guilty of hyperbole when he said that:

"There’s no longer any question whether Apple is going to sell 10
million iPhones in 2008. 20 million sounds more like it to me — with
maybe 10 million in the holiday quarter alone."

Having seen the UK pricing, now I’m not so sure. If phone companies around the globe are as aggressive as O2 is being, then I think there’s a chance he may be right.

And I think RIMarkable also summed it up very nicely:

"Apple to Research in Motion. ‘We’ve sacrificed a bit of quarterly profit to get some of your market share.  Your move…’"

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