The top-of-the-range 32GB iPhone 3GS will be free for U.K. customers willing to sign a two-year service contract with network operator O2 for £73.41 (US$120) per month. With cheaper contracts, the phone costs up to £274.23.
In France, Orange will charge €229 ($318), or €149 for the 16GB version. Both prices require customers to sign up for Orange service for a year or more, but the phone’s price does not depend on the contract. The cheapest contract, at €39 per month, requires a two-year commitment.
Germany’s T-Mobile will charge €1 for both models if bought with a two-year contract costing €119.95 per month, or up to €249.95 for the 32GB phone with cheaper contracts.
In the U.S., the phones will cost $199 and $299 with a contract.
The French will get their hands on Apple’s new phone 14 hours before customers in the U.S., as Orange will open its store on the Champs-Elysées at one minute past midnight local time. In the U.S., buyers will have to wait until 8 a.m.
Orange initially had exclusive rights to sell the iPhone in France, but its rivals sued for the right to sell it too, saying the exclusive deal was anticompetitive and hurt consumers by restricting choice. SFR and Bouygues Telecom began selling the iPhone 3G in April, with prices and contract terms similar to those of Orange.
SFR will begin selling the iPhone 3GS on June 24, but has not yet announced a price. Bouygues Telecom, France’s third mobile operator, has not yet announced its launch plans.
SFR and Orange are still selling the iPhone 3G 8GB for €99, while Bouygues Telecom has already cut its price for the older model to €89. In the U.S., AT&T is cutting the price of the iPhone 3G to $99.
To accompany the iPhone 3GS, Orange will introduce a new airtime plan offering four hours of calls and unlimited voicemail, e-mail, text messages, 60 TV channels and Internet access via its 3G network and Wi-Fi hotspots for €52 per month. Existing plans offer fewer TV channels and free text messages at certain times of day only.
The company will also offer a new data service, allowing iPhone owners to use the device as a tethered modem. That service will cost €9.90 per month for up to 200MB of data traffic, or €29.90 for the so-called “unlimited” service, the speed of which will be throttled once downloads exceed 1GB per month.
O2 will offer a similar tethered modem service, at £14.68 a month for 3GB, or £29.36 for 10GB. It does not plan an unlimited offering.