If you want to get the iPhone as soon as possible but don't want to choose O2 or wait for too long or be tied to an extremely long contract, then we've investigated the best route to have Apple's iPhone your way.
O2 sells the PAYG 3G for £342.54, the 16GB 3GS for £440.40 and the 32GB 3GS for £538.30, by far the cheapest iPhones you can buy out of contract (but still tied to O2). You can shave around £300 off the price of a SIM-free 32GB iPhone by sticking with O2 for now.
Each iPhone on Pay & Go includes 12 months unlimited data and Wi-Fi access so that's one thing sorted. Then you can choose between either going on PAYG with O2 (top up £15 for example per month and get 75 minutes, unlimited UK texts and browsing) or their excellent Simplicity SIM only offer. The cheapest one month contract costs only £9.79 and comes with 150 minutes and 300 texts.
Over a 12 month period, your outlay for an iPhone 3G will cost you £460 and over 24 months, only £577.50.
If you are ready to stick with O2 for 12 months, then the 800 minutes/1600 texts package with the Web Bolt On will be charged only £234.96 per year or £812.46 for two years once you include the price of an iPhone 3G. That is not only cheaper but also provides you with more minutes and more texts.
You then have a very wide choice illustrated here.The best value unlimited web access tariff with 300 minutes and unlimited text is still Virgin media at £18 per month with one month contract although you could get 150 minutes, 300 texts and unlimited internet for only £15 from T-Mobile.
Vodafone also proposes a £17.50 30 days SIM only offer with 100 anytime minutes and 500 inclusive texts. Bump that to £20 for 600 minutes, unlimited text but with a 12 month contract.
Finally, moving away from O2 means that you will be able to use 3's Pay Monthly SIM which gives you unlimited texts, free Skype and MSN as well as unlimited 3-to-3 calls for £10 per month with internet costing an additional £5.
Hence over a period of 12 months, you will be spending £620 for the first year, rising to £800 over two years with the peace of mind knowing you can swap networks at (almost) any time, giving you more flexibility than a 24 month fixed contract.
Note that the above case study was for an 8GB iPhone 3G. A 16GB iPhone 3GS costs £600 while the 32GB model retails for £675.