The iPhone is available to buy from Orange as of today, following the end of O2’s exclusivity deal on the handset. But how does the smartphone compare across the two networks?
In terms of pricing, there is barely a whisker in it. Orange are just about cheaper, with their lowest priced monthly deal costing £29.36. That’s a mere 2p less than O2’s most comparable offer. It’s practically this close across all the other price ranges with only a penny’s difference between the two. Orange do however offer the more advanced iPhone 3GS 16GB and 32GB models on their cheapest deals, whereas you have to cough up £34.26 a month on O2 to get them.
If you’re grabbing an iPhone you’re probably looking forward to using the internet on the go, and straight away Orange come a cropper here. Their unlimited data usage is in fact anything but unlimited, capped at a miserly 750MB a month. Anyone planning on streaming music or video will burn through that allowance. While O2’s fair data usage policy is decidedly vague, so far it has seemed reasonable, allowing users to get on with their browsing without much hassle.
If you travel a lot, roaming charges are worth looking at too. O2 have a pretty good policy on roaming; International Travellers Service is included in pay monthly deals, which they claim saves you about 80% on roaming charges, with calls costing from 35p a minute. Orange lose a point here; you have to be on their massive £122.34 a month price plan to get just 100 roaming minutes and 20MB of data, with calls starting at 38p. Do the math and O2’s International Travellers Service saves you a pretty penny.
It’s also worth considering that O2 notoriously have poorer network coverage than Orange, though many have claimed that limitations in the iPhone hardware will mean that there may be little noticeable difference between the two networks in this respect.
It’s a tight race then so far. Some will decry Orange’s “unlimited” data usage (capped at 750MB a month), but O2’s fair usage policy is so vague that there probably isn’t much difference between the two in that respect.
We may have all hoped for a price war, but that has certainly not been the case. Perhaps once Vodafone get in on the iPhone action next year things will heat up a little, but until then it’s nearly neck and neck.