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The Penultimate iPhone 4 Buying Guide - 6 Networks, 102 Packages

Now that T-Mobile has finally announced its pricing for the iPhone 4, we're embarking in our iPhone 4 Buying Guide; this is your ultimate document regardless whether you want to hack your existing SIM to death, whether you want to buy the iPhone 4 on credit, on contract, PAYG or SIM Free.

SIM Free

If you want to buy an iPhone 4 SIM Free, be very patient as Apple (opens in new tab) says that you will have to wait at least 21 days to get a 16GB or 32GB iPhone 4 as long as it is black. White iPhone still don't have an ETA and we'd suggest that you buy a white rubber casing/bumper for the device anyway.

Expect to pay £499 for the 16GB and £599 for the 32GB model and you might even choose to get the iPhone through Apple's Finance Solution for as little as £16.10 per month over three years as described here. Note that this is a credit offer and can therefore affect your finances and credit history if not properly managed.

If you are really desperate to get your hands on the SIM Free iPhone 4 as soon as possible, you may want to go directly to the Apple Stores that are found around the country. The list of Apple retail stores in the UK is found here (opens in new tab)and it is always advisable to check for stock availability before you make the journey there.

If you want to get the iPhone 4 without moving from your desk, you can either bet on Ebay or Computer Exchange but availability can be patchy at best. One Ebay seller currently stocks the iPhone 4 for as much as £700, which is 40 percent more expensive than the normal selling price.


T-Mobile (opens in new tab) sells the 16GB iPhone 4 for £509 with 12 months free internet and free unlimited texts if you top up £10 per month. Orange (opens in new tab) sells the 16GB for £480 (plus a £10 top up) with the 32GB model costing an additional £90 with 250MB Uk mobile internet browsing and unlimited Wi-Fi for 12 months.

Tesco offers 1GB Web and unlimited Wi-Fi thankts to BT Openzone for £479 for the iPhone 4 16Gb and £569 for the 32GB version. O2, 3 UK and Vodafone do not currently sell the iPhone 4 on PAYG. It is worth noting that PAYG iPhone 4 at Tesco, T-Mobile and Orange are both out of stock with not ETA. Therefore, if you need an iPhone 4 as soon as possible, we'd thoroughly recommend that you actually get a SIM Free one instead.

Contract Offers

Choosing a contract offer is not as straight forward as one could expect. Should you want to upgrade to the iPhone 4 from your existing package, it is advisable that you get in touch with your mobile operator first.

They may or may not have time limited upgrade offers. We understand that O2 and 3 UK have allocated a significant portion of their iPhone 4 stock to existing customers because this would mean extending current contracts and therefore a much lower cost per acquisition.

If you are a new customer, it pays to try the network first especially as coverage varies from place to place. You can order free SIM cards from all the mobile network operators to see how they compare to each other. If you're neutral then, 3 UK has possibly the best iPhone 4 package on the market.

The Hutchinson-Whampoa owned network sells the iPhone 4 for as little as £819 on a two year contract which includes 500 any network minutes, 5000 texts, 5000 3-to-3 minutes and 1GB internet but no Skype, Twitter or Windows Live Messenger as it is the case (opens in new tab) on other packages. Details of other providers can be found below:

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.