At 2010, Reaching The End of the iPhone Road

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?