iPhone 3G PAYG coming to O2: 16th September from £349.99

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At last, the long awaited contract-free iPhone 3G has been announced* by O2. We’ve been expecting it for some time, and indeed O2’s help pages have been geared up for PAYG queries since the pay monthly version launched.

If you’ve got a spare £349.99 lying around, then in just over two weeks time you’ll be able to slap it down on an O2 store counter and say “Give me the Pay As You Go 8GB iPhone please”.

For an extra fifty quid, you can get the 16GB model.

Yes, you’ll be able to do exactly the same at The Carphone Warehouse too.

It comes with the same unlimited Internet usage via both cellular and selected Wi-Fi hotspots as contract users enjoy, for the first year at least, provided that a minimum of £10 is topped up each month. After this, a minimum £10 top-up is required to keep unlimited Internet usage.

PAYG iPhone 3G users automatically join O2’s “Favourite Place” tariff, which means they get a set number of minutes to any UK landline or O2 mobile phone from a registered postcode. However, they can change to any other Pay & Go tariff up to once each month. You can investigate that lot yourself, it’s far too complicated to overview here.

Visual Voicemail and call merging aren’t available on Pay & Go.

Is it worth it? That really depends on how much you want to call and text people, versus using the iPhone primarily for the Internet.

If you just want Internet access, you can get by on a tenner a month, and, though the handset costs a lot more up-front than even the basic £30 per month contract, you’ll eventually start saving. If you want more minutes and texts, though, you’ll need to work out what gets you the best deal. Calculators out. Go!

Of course, it’s also good news for those with a lot of cash but a lousy credit history.

According to O2’s website, it seems that iPhone 3G stock is no longer an issue. It will be interesting to see just who is waiting for a contract-free iPhone, and whether they’ll get one come 16th September. Remember, it’s still shackled to O2.

* Apple is due to make the official announcement in the next day or so.

iPhone 3G PAYG on O2

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Andy Merrett