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Orange unveils iPhone tariffs, release date

The operator has announced its tariffs for Apple's iPhone, which it will offer in competition with long-time provider O2
Written by Matthew Broersma, Contributor on

Orange on Monday announced its tariffs for Apple's iPhone, which it will begin offering in competition with long-time provider O2 next week.

The French-owned company will start offering the iPhone on 10 November, a day after O2's exclusivity period ends. The move means Orange will become the second UK network service provider to offer the smartphone, though Vodafone has also signed up to carry the Apple device next year

Some industry analysts predicted the entry of a competitor could provoke a price war, yet Orange's rates are much the same as those already offered by O2.

For example, Orange will offer a 24-month contract with a £34.26 monthly rate, including 600 voice minutes and 500 texts, under which the iPhone itself will cost £87 for a 16GB device or £175 for the 32GB device. This compares to an existing O2 offer for the same monthly rate, but with the 16GB iPhone costing 11p more and the 32GB device priced 19p more.

"Competition has not been ignited as [prospective] iPhone customers may have hoped," said price comparison firm MoneySupermarket in a research note issued on Monday. "The tariffs announced by Orange are generally the same as O2."

One significant difference is that Orange imposes a fair-usage limit of 750MB per month on data, while O2 has no set limit, MoneySupermarket noted.

Potential buyers may have to wait until next year, when Vodafone is due to begin selling the device, for prices to begin to fall.

Orange announced its iPhone move in late September, at the same time as O2 announced it would begin selling the Palm Pre device, on which it will initially have UK exclusivity.

At the time, analyst firm Gartner predicted Orange would offer similar pricing to O2, and would rely on its services to compete.

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