While the iPhone may come with a hefty £269 price tag coupled with a long term 18 month contract it has emerged that O2 is doing everything it can to give its existing customers a fair deal.
After the broad strokes announced at the 18 September unveiling a rather interesting point has come up in the small print: O2 will let all monthly customers who signed their contracts before 18 September break these agreements at no cost and transfer their number should they wish to swap to an iPhone deal.
This is a fantastic gesture since, in most practical terms, it will enable customers to sell their existing subsidised handsets privately and put this money towards the £269 iPhone asking price. And with models like the Nokia N95 currently fetching more than £200 on eBay, that is no small leg-up.
Interestingly, O2 has also confirmed to me that customers on both 12 and 18 month contracts are eligible, so those who took a long term deal in exchange for a heavily discounted high-end mobile are in real luck.
On the downside, the network has excluded anyone who signed a new contract after 18 September. Consequently, the only way for them to get their hands on an iPhone is either a) take out a second contract or b) pay a one-off transfer charge of £219 instead of the remaining monthly charges on their existing contract.
Unlucky guys, but then if you did this after O2 officially announced the iPhone on 18 September then you only have yourselves to blame...
Naturally enough, O2 Simplicity and Pay & Go customers can switch over to an iPhone deal at any time and without any penalty fees.
In all, I have to applaud O2. It could easily have fleeced its existing tied down customers while raking in hordes of new ones, but it has chosen to show them unprecedented levels of loyalty. So with the barriers removed the only thing that remains is to head out and buy yourselves some camping gear because with a midnight launch on the horizon there's going to be a big queue...
Update: O2 also confirms you can keep your existing number when you switch stating, "You'll need to start a new 18 month minimum term contract and pay for your iPhone handset but you can keep your existing number. So everyone will know it's you when you call them to brag." Top stuff.
O2 iPhone Availability Click 'Existing Customers' tab for details