At 2010, Reaching The End of the iPhone Road | iLounge Backstage

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At 2010, Reaching The End of the iPhone Road

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By Bob Levens

Contributing Editor
Published: Wednesday, December 16, 2009
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My current contract with O2 is coming to an end soon, and while the last 18 months with my iPhone have been ‘fun,’ the cost is something I’m seriously considering as possibly not worth bearing. The question: do I continue my contract, seek another provider, or drop the iPhone as a data device altogether?

Bear in mind that I haven’t come close to using all my inclusive texts and minutes on the £35 plan I have been on, and don’t want to be roped into another year and a half or more of a contract in order to get an iPhone 3GS, which by June or July will be old hat. So what are my options as the end comes near?

I called the nearest O2 store to find out what it would offer. Continue on the current tariff forking out £35 a month is one option, and I’m not keen on this one: it’s expensive and I’m paying subsidy-replenishing rates without getting any subsidy for my paid-off phone. Another is to move to a Pay & Go package—£15 a month Top-Up provides Unlimited Texts and unlimited web—with a data bolt on of £10 tied in, leaving £5 a month for texts, is another. The third way may be to buy a new SIM card and pay £20 a month for 600 minutes/600 texts with mobile internet and email no more than 98p each day of use.

The other network options appear to be:-

T-Mobile - get a free SIM card on Pay As You Go, then pay £10 month for ‘free’ internet & texts (for life) - £1 per day maximum for internet access
Orange - “Dolphin” plan - £10 a month with a maximum daily charge for mobile Internet browsing £2
3 - PAYG SIM - £9.99 one off cost, minimum £5 top up and “A generous allowance of mobile internet access”
Vodafone - £20 a month SIM only with 500MB of mobile internet and webmail

These tariffs and SIM only/PAYG options are what I have managed to glean from the various providers websites and I may have missed other available options.

As T-Mobile and Orange are in the throws of a merger then maybe switching to their combined network might fill in the gaps in 3G service that I have suffered ever since getting an iPhone on O2.
Further head scratching and confusion caused by the plethora of tariffs and PAYG SIMs with possibly hobbled internet, will no doubt be evident over the holiday period and upcoming CES trip.

I’m not the only one about to be off contract, so now that O2’s non-exclusive—a state of affairs that didn’t exist when we signed up for the iPhone originally—I’m wondering, how are other iPhone users in the UK going to celebrate the end of their respective contracts?

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Comments

1

Look at GiffGaff, the new MVNO on O2 in UK. They offer a decent PAYG offer with free data until they get round to charging for it (probably in 3-6 months time). Given the cost of their calls, the data price is likely to be OK.

I am using my 3GS on GiffGaff without any problems whatsoever.

Posted by Tarion on December 16, 2009 at 2:57 PM (PDT)

2

I went to an O2 shop at the weekend and changed on to the Simplicity plan. 600 minutes/600 texts with unlimited data for £20 a month. Also it’s a rolling contract, so I can just cancel it when the next iPhone comes out.

Posted by stadidas on December 16, 2009 at 3:02 PM (PDT)

3

I’d 100% say just go to the simplicity until June/July and get the 4G or whatever it’s going to be called.

Posted by st3ph3n on December 16, 2009 at 3:33 PM (PDT)

4

If your pockets are deep enough, you can get an unlocked 32 GB iPhone 3GS for £900 from eXpansys.

Seriously though, I’m having the same dilemma. Mine’s running out in April, and I need something to tide me over until June/July. I quite like stadidas’ suggestion, but do you still get visual voicemail? It’s not that big a deal I guess, but still…

Posted by Kim on December 16, 2009 at 3:40 PM (PDT)

5

I use O2’s Simplicity at 600m/600t with free internet for £20/month. It doesn’t have visual voicemail but I don’t get that many messages anyway.

Posted by Peter Johnston on December 16, 2009 at 3:58 PM (PDT)

6

Thanks for the responses. I note that GiffGaff is offering “Free UK web browsing on your handset for up to 6 months from launch” - to the 25th May 2010 - that is certainly attractive. It would bring me into the time frame of a possible next gen iPhone…

Posted by Bob Levens in UK on December 16, 2009 at 4:00 PM (PDT)

7

I was planning on switching to PAYG on O2. I don’t make that mant calls or send that many texts, so £10/month for unlimited data plus extra for the calls/texts I do make should amount to less than £15/month for me. Then I’ll see what comes along in July - the 3GS isn’t worth the upgrade to me but the 4 (or whatever it is called) should be much more interesting…

Posted by Steve Rumsby on December 17, 2009 at 2:28 AM (PDT)

8

I’m at the same crossroads, and slightly worse. I’ve had a 3G sine July 08 and the contract expires in Feb. I’ve loved the O2 experience (massive data allowance for the price) and would happily renew.

My wife is now interested in the iPhone, so it makes sense to get a 3GS for her now on a new O2 plan and I upgrade mine at the end of the contract. And in anticipation, I’ve switched from my (paid) MobileMe service to the (free) Google suite of apps based on an exchange server, which works flawlessly with the iPhone to get an easy to use, but powerful, mail and shared calendar infrastructure for us both. I’m hooked on the power of the Google apps now.

To make matters even worse, my wife has a fantastic plan on Vodafone, so I’m hanging on to see if they’ll upgrade her current hardware to iPhone when they release it and retain the current plan. If not…...

The Nexus One looks very, very appealing. It could well be bye-bye iPhone(s) if it launches as an unlocked device. I can pick up a cheap, suitable plan and my wife can continue on Voda.

Let’s see what happens early next year!

Posted by David Walton on December 17, 2009 at 10:13 AM (PDT)

9

I’ve just finished a lengthy call with O2’s retention team.  My minimum contract term is up on 8th January, but you have to give 30 days notice so the earliest I could be released is 18th January.

I use very little text and calls so the £20/month Simplicity plan won’t suit me.

Apparently the data bolt-on is £7.50/month (I thought it was £10?)

Apparently they can only initiate a migration to PAYG in the same calendar month that you request it.  And they need to leave 2 days to make sure it goes through in time.  So my options seem to be:

1) Initiate migration now, get PAYG SIM for December 29th, pay £7.50 for data and pay for texts and calls from PAYG credit.  This option sucks as I’d be throwing away 20 days of contract which is £20.

2) Serve notice now and don’t migrate which means I’d lose my phone number, start afresh with PAYG on January 18th

3) My favourite option so far: ring them up on January 1st and serve notice then, meaning I pay for the contract until 31st January and initiate the transfer to PAYG on 29th Jaunary.  This one isn’t ideal as I’m paying contract rates for longer than I need to be.

It does seem crazy that a migration is limited to the same calendar month in which the termination notice is served. The O2 employee I spoke to said that I couldn’t give notice now and initiate a migration in January to coincide with the end of my contract as that would require another 30 days notice.  That doesn’t sound quite right to me but might be the case as their systems have other unhelpful restrictions.

Any thoughts?

Posted by Russell Finn on December 18, 2009 at 10:10 AM (PDT)

10

Russell,
Thanks for that - not seemple is it?
Apart from the O2 options already mentioned, I called into a Carphonewarehouse store yesterday to see how they explain my options. According to them I can’t use my iPhone with any network - has to be O2 or Orange.
Went to the 3 Store - “of course you can use an iPhone” - I can have a SIM only PAYG for £15 (300 mins, unlimited texts, unlimited 3-3 calls ‘unlimited’ internet/email, 1.5GB a month).
From investigating the 3 option it appears that only some of their internet package is free (accessing Windows Live Messenger, Making Skype-to-Skype calls and sending ‘chats’ (instant messages) using Skype on 3, Using My3 to view or manage your account, When you first click on Planet 3, there’s no charge. You can also browse our Services section and explore categories like Music, News and Sport for free) - access anything else and you pay.

As I seem to be in the “Data first, texts next, calls last” user group finding a suitable package isn’t going to be easy…

Posted by Bob Levens in UK on December 18, 2009 at 10:39 AM (PDT)

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