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Orange saves callers pennies with iPhone tariffs

The future's bright, the future's 11p cheaper

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Orange will launch its iPhone offering on 10 November, at a price almost indistinguishable from O2's existing one.

Anyone expecting that the end of O2's monopoly would lead to some sort of price war will be disappointed to hear that Orange will be offering the top-end iPhone at exactly the same (two-year) tariff as O2, though customers will save 11 pence on the cost of the 16GB handset.

So a punter signing up for 24 months of 3GS goodness will be paying £34.36 a month regardless of which network he's using, for 600 minutes and 500 texts, though if that network is Orange then he'll only have to shell out £87 for the handset, compared to the clearly-overpriced £87.11 that O2 will charge him.

If our punter only wants to be locked in for only 18 months, with the same monthly tariff and minutes, but perhaps with a 32GB handset, then he could save as much as 23 pence by choosing Orange over O2.

Those familiar with how Apple does business won't be so surprised by the remarkable similarity between the prices, given the manufacturer's preference for uniform pricing.

There are a few marginal differences, but even the exhaustive analysis provided by MoneySupermarket.com fails to throw up any significant favourite: "For first time iPhone customers looking to switch there is nothing between the two operators", said mobile manager James Parker.

So O2's monopoly might be over, but Apple's monopoly on supply remains in place and thus its ability to set the price. James remains optimistic, noting that "there is still the prospect of Vodafone offering the iPhone in the New Year which may really get the competition going", but the more-cynical know that Vodafone's offer will be another photocopy of the prices set by Cupertino. ®

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