iPhone comes to Tesco on 14 December

Tesco make it, and scoop Vodafone by becoming the next UK provider of Apple iPhones. Its mobile arm, an MVNO in partnership with O2 will sell the devices from Monday morning, well in time for Christmas sales.

Offering the only 12-month contract terms that allow customers to get hold of Apple’s flagship phone, it’s very likely to sell well, if not fly off the shelves. But does it really bring anything valuable to consumers?

Promising low, flat rate calls to any UK network, anytime, the pricing follows T-Mobile Flext plans with a value allowance using up 20p per minute and 10p per text. Not so low in supermarket terms with Vodafone-Asda’s MVNO, Asda Mobile iPhone-less but selling at 8p/4p.

Only pennies so far separate O2 and Orange iPhone pricing. When you take base TCO and divide by 18-month contract length, the iPhone 3G 8GB is just under £35 a month and the top spec iPhone 3Gs 16GB just over £44.50 with both operators.

Tesco’s 12-month plans come in with the 3G at £38.50 and the 3Gs 16GB for £53.92.

On prepay, all three companies headline costs are within £1 of each other. War? What is it good for? Fill in the lyric.

I’ve scoured the website and been on the phone to Tesco Mobile (the agents were lovely, well mannered and patient with me), but no news yet on the fair use policy for Tesco’s version of unlimited data and Wi-Fi. I lampooned Orange for their naff 750MB limit so I hope the launch date brings more exciting news. I’ll keep you posted.

My view? There will be a new iPhone out next year anyway to blow these all out of the water. If you just gotta, gotta, gotta have one now, take the iPhone 3G 8GB 12-month plan from Tesco. Make your ‘lifestyle choice’, be part of the brand and save around £160 overall. You’ll be untied earlier when the next version comes out, just be prudent with your call and text allowance.

Perhaps Vodafone will truly shake things up a little when it releases pricing details? What am I thinking?

Originally published at OneMobileRing.com