It was back in September that we first heard of the Vodafone iPhone deal, so it's about time we got some specifics.
Vodafone clearly agrees and today it announced eager customers will be able to get their mitts on the iPhone 3G and 3GS from 14 January. It also details a comprehensive range of price plans which - whilst not overly different from the iPhone O2 and Orange tariffs - do have a few notable plus points.
The tables above and below give you the nitty gritty, but a clear sweet spot is the £40pm, 18 month tariff for a 16GB 3GS (you don't really need 32GB) which lands you the handset for £89 along with 600 minutes, unlimited text messages, free WiFi and a 1GB monthly data allowance. The less contract-phobic may also be tempted by the £45pm, 24 month 16GB 3GS deal which ups the calls allowance to 1200 minutes.
Meanwhile business bundles lose out on unlimited text messages, but get marginally cheaper handset prices along with unlimited calls to landlines. Note their prices exclude VAT.
So what of these other notable plus points? I've already touched upon one: 1GB of data is more than the 750MB Orange offers, while O2 continues to be obtuse refusing to put a figure on its allowance. Vodafone should also be applauded for not calling it 'unlimited'. In addition, Vodafone claims its customers won't suffer the data issues encountered by O2 customers with CEO Guy Laurence stating “We started preparing our network over a year ago so that iPhone customers will really feel the advantage of being with Vodafone.”
Finally a tethering option is available separately charged at £5pm, £10pm and £15pm for monthly data allowances of 500MB, 1.5GB and 3GB respectively. Yes, tethering should be free and taken from your price plan's data, but at least an option is here.
Vodafone stores and the company's website are taking pre-orders now, with Apple retail outlets and partners the Carphone Warehouse, Phones4U and "20 of the leading business dealers" all getting in on the act. Consumers who had already pre-registered interest in the iPhone on the network will also be rewarded with free Vodafone to Vodafone calls for the life of their initial contract. Can't say fairer than that.
In related news (and speaking of data issues), O2 has apologised for yet another data outage after mostly London-based customers found themselves cut-off in recent days. No reasons were given for the collapse, but O2 confirmed "we are working to resolve this as quickly as possible and apologise to any affected customers." Bet that makes you feel better?
Still, things could be looking up for the network with rumours spreading that it has bought successful VoIP provider Jajah. A $200m price has been suggested with Jajah having approximately 15m subscribers. Combine this with the O2 LTE plans and maybe, just maybe, 2010 could signal the start of a more progressive year for the controversial network.