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iPhone 4: early prices suggest bargains are unlikely

iPhone 4: early prices suggest bargains are unlikely

We're now a day into the iPhone 4 pre-ordering frenzy and the tariffs are slowly starting to seep out. O2 and Orange have come clean with official plans, while Vodafone’s prices were leaked and quickly pulled late last week. But with 3 and T-Mobile still to show their hands, it doesn’t look like all that competition is going to mean bargain deals for those craving an iPhone 4.

Compare iPhone 4 deals at Top10: iPhone 4 Deals

Orange’s plans are telling. Only the £75 a month two-year package will get you an iPhone 4 for free. And if you want an 18-month contract, then you won’t be able to lay your hands on a free handset at all. That’s perhaps unsurprising. But it also seems Apple is keen to get the carriers to impress upon users just how much of a premium device this really is.

The deals are very similar to O2’s, although the data cap stretches to 750MB rather than the measly 500MB that O2 is promising. And this is indicative of what we can expect from the other networks when they go about their big reveals over the coming days.

iPhone contracts have always been much of a muchness, ever since Orange and Vodafone joined the party. And while the excitement around 3’s inclusion is undoubted, it’s unlikely it’ll be able to offer significant price drops. That’s not the fault of any network, but down to Apple’s need to charge a premium price tag for what it considers the best mobile phone of all time.

iphone 4 facing

Apple has been blasted for its pricing strategy in the past, and there’s no doubting that the iPhone 4 will set you back much more than closest rivals the [HTC Desire[(/mobiles/deals/htc_desire/ "HTC Desire") and Sony Ericsson Xperia X10.

But with shipping dates already pushed back a week owing to high demand (and that’s just for the SIM-free phones), it appears plenty of people are willing to take the hit in order to get the gadget of the moment, with prices not an issue. What's more, it’s becoming clear quite quickly that those holding out for something cheaper are going to be disappointed.

With Apple controlling the price, more so than any other operator, networks have little wiggle room to offer something more tantalising to get even more punters on board. That’s partly because they don’t have to - iPhones pretty much sell themselves - but the web-based natter about cheap deals is sadly looking wide of the mark.

We’ll find out in the next few days if 3 or T-Mobile can break the mould. In the meantime, it might be wise to extend your overdraft limit of you’re gagging for an iPhone 4 right now.

Compare iPhone 4 deals at Top10: iPhone 4 Deals

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