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O2: Contract Commitment Required For iPhone 3G

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Sorry non-Apple fans it is more iPhone 3G news, but for converts this is worth pricking up your ears...

Following reports that all iPhone 3G purchases made in the US through AT&T will have to be made in store (an obvious attempt to curb the previous widespread unlocking) I've chased O2 for the skinny on the UK situation.

O2 spokesman Nick Wilkins cleared up the situation: "Yes, the bulk of the activation process will happen in store (or on the O2 online store) before you receive the device. So you have to sign up to the contract before you get the device (unlike previously). Having said that, you still need to connect the iPhone to iTunes to complete the activation process." {Brackets not mine}

So it does indeed look like those past promises to join O2 before skedaddling over to ZiPhone and unlocking your handset will go out the window this time around. From what we gather the system will be the same through Carphone Warehouse too where customers have to commit to a contract either in store or online before completing the check-out process.

Ultimately however with App Store on the way and impressive subsidized pricing and call plans available the only benefit of unlocking now is to keep your current network. This can be a big deal for those living in areas with poor O2 coverage, but in general this now differs little from the 'exclusives' most networks regularly attain on a whole variety of handsets.

Suck it up people.

Update: An official clarification from Nick on the online buying process: "You select the device you want, tariff etc and then go through the credit check, sign up and agree to the contract (all online). The device is then sent to you in the post. You plug it into iTunes and it is un-bricked."

Seems water tight to us.

Link:
O2 iPhone 3G Contracts

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