MOBILE OPERATOR O2 announced a raft of new price plans in the hope of retaining Iphone customers now that its exclusive on the device has vanished.
The new plans include two sim-only tariffs aimed at Iphone users who are finishing their existing 18 month terms. Those who can do without data are also presented with two new options should they wish to forgo a subsidised handset. And to round things off, O2 presented a "mobile broadband" plan which includes a whopping 1GB per month transfer on either 30 day or 18 month contracts.
Seemingly in denial about not being Apple's only child, O2 apologised about claiming until earlier this week, incorrectly, that it was still the only operator in the UK that had the blessing of Steve Jobs. Of course that isn't the case with Vodafone, Orange and virtual operator Tesco Mobile now peddling the devices.
For Iphone users on O2 that are thinking of jumping ship, O2 are trying to tempt them with a £15 or £20 per month deal with contract lengths of 18 months and 30 days respectively. Both plans comprise of 300 talk minutes, unlimited UK texting and "unlimited" 3G and WiFi data they are a sharp drop from the plans at the Iphone launch.
The good news for Iphone users rolls on with the release of O2's "tethering bolt on". For the measly sum of £2 per day you can use your Iphone as a modem. Just make sure you don't breach their excessive use policy, a policy according to an O2 spokeswoman that doesn't have a figure. Indeed after hours of parsing O2's terms and conditions, we couldn't find an exact figure listed. For now it seems be a case of seeing how far you can push them.
Quite why O2 chose today to make a big song and dance about their Iphone "simplicity" plans is a mystery, as current users have been offered the deal for over a month now. Given that O2's two year exclusivity deal ran out before Christmas, the chosen announcement date remains a pertinent question and one that our O2 spokeswoman was unable to answer.
Maybe a clue could be the launch date of the Iphone 3G. Sales of the original Iphone were lacklustre and only picked up when the second generation device tipped up in July 2008. After some simple arithmetic would tend to suggest a fair chunk of customers' contracts are coming up for renewal very soon.
For O2, the Iphone helped them pinch a vast amount of users from competing networks. Now it seems that it is they, not Apple who will have to work hard in order to keep them.