Orange has ducked out of an anticipated price war with current exclusive UK carrier O2, announcing a range of pricing that undercuts O2's prices by mere pennies. And Orange's definition of "unlimited" data downloads has also run into fierce criticism.
On a £44.04/month package (18-month contract) Orange will charge £87 for the 16GB iPhone 3GS handset and £175 for the 32GB iPhone 3GS handset - 1p a month less than O2, and saving 11p and 19p on the respective handsets.
There's a sting in Orange's pricing, however, with the new Apple iPhone carrier counting just 750MB in data downloads as "unlimited", where O2 stipulates no actual download limit.
Orange will likely escape censor on this limit as, according to Cult of Mac, the UK's Advertising Standards Authority said in a ruling earlier this year that an ad for a BlackBerry deal with "unlimited" data that was actually limited to 250MB/month was not in breach of its codes.
According to BBC technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones Orange may backtrack on the "unlimited" limit. In his popular Twitter feed Cellan-Jones stated: "Orange have come back - 750mb limit for 3g, separate 750mb for BT Openzone wifi(not yr own). But say may review the policy after 'concern'".
Orange confirmed that it will launch the iPhone in the UK on 10th November.
Vodafone joins O2 and Orange in offering the iPhone, but not until early 2010. It has not yet revealed its iPhone pricing or any limits to data downloads.
The iPhone 3GS and 3G will be available in Orange stores next Tuesday from 7am (at selected stores), available to Orange Pay as you Go, Pay Monthly and Business customers.
According to a press release Orange is launching a range of specifically designed iPhone plans and price points including.
• Pay Monthly - iPhone 8GB, 16GB and 32GB models will be available on multiple monthly plans, with the 3GS free on all £45 plans and the 3G model free from £30 plans (both with a 24-month contract).
For those looking for full all-inclusive packages, a new high end "traveller" offer with inclusive roaming call and data allowance is available at £125 month.
All plans include unlimited anytime, (Fair usage of 750MB per month applies), anywhere UK mobile data usage on Orange's data network. In addition customers will also get free unlimited use of the UK's largest single public Wi-Fi network, BT Openzone.
• Pay as You Go (PAYG) - Customers topping-up by £50 at purchase will be able to buy an iPhone 3G on Orange PAYG for £333. Any customer buying an iPhone on Orange PAYG will automatically get 250MB of data each month, plus unlimited use of the UK's largest single public Wi-Fi network, BT Openzone, for 12 months.
• SME Plans - Similar to PAYM Consumer pricing, with an additional £50 monthly tariff.
• iPhone tethering bundles - Customers wanting to use their iPhone to get mobile broadband on their laptop can take out additional bundles starting at £5 per month.
Full detail on pricing and plans available at www.orange.co.uk/iphone.
The iPhone will be available in all 402 UK Orange stores, its online shop, telesales channels, and its Orange HMV concessions, as well as through Apple Retail Stores, Carphone Warehouse, Phones4U and other selected high street partners.
"The excitement for the iPhone is immense, and this is a great day for our customers, our company and our employees. Since we announced the iPhone on Orange we have already seen more than a quarter of a million customers register their interest on our website," said Tom Alexander, CEO of Orange UK.
"We will be matching their enthusiasm with a 3G mobile broadband network that covers more people in the UK than any other operator, a commitment to deliver the best 3G experience on the iPhone and best-in-class applications and plans.
"Earlier this year we stated our ambition to become the destination brand of choice for high end mobile users in the UK. With the launch of the iPhone on November 10 we're pleased to be fulfilling that ambition."
See all mobile phone reviews
Nick Spence writes for Macworld.