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iPhone 3G available for free

At the iPhone 3G launch event on Monday, Apple frontman Steve Jobs pitched the next generation device as “twice as fast, half the price.” But with the first details of associated tariffs appearing, the iPhone 3G is going to be available for as cheap as free.

UK mobile operator O2, which still has exclusive rights to sell the device, said Tuesday that it would be offering the handset on four different tariffs.

For the 8GB iPhone, users can opt to pay £30, £35, £45 or £75 per month and get the device for either £99 on the lower two tariffs and free on the more expensive ones. Likewise with the 16GB unit, customers can get the iPhone 3G for £159 on the £30 and £35 tariffs, £59 on the £45 tariff and free on the £75 package.

All packages come with unlimited 3G data and wifi, reduced roaming rates and 18 month minimum term contracts.

For UK iPhoners O2 points out that data usage whilst roaming not included and unlimited wifi is available at any of the 9,500 hotspots operated by O2’s partners The Cloud and BT. The UK carrier advises that downloading 1MB of data in an EU country will cost £3 and the same amount of data in a non EU country will cost £6. Of course, O2 UK sells a Data Abroad Bolt On.

Existing O2 iPhone users can upgrade their device but they won’t get any preferential treatment other than being allowed to terminate their exiting contract and sign up for a new 18 month one.

O2 said it will also release details of a prepay offer and is also pitching the device to business customers. Enterprise functionality was one of the big drivers behind the release of the iPhone 3G.

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