O2 Offers Business Rates for 3G iPhone

The operator, Apple's partner for the iPhone in Britain, will finally introduce corporate rates for the smartphone, allowing businesses to save money

O2 has finally opened its arms to UK businesses large and small wanting to use the Apple iPhone.

The operator said the 3G iPhone, which was announced yesterday by Apple CEO Steve Jobs at the company's World-Wide Developer Conference in San Francisco, will be available on current O2 business tariffs as a monthly bolt on—adding around an extra £8.50 to their bill.

O2 said the 8GB iPhone will be available for free on the majority of business tariffs on a 24- or 36-month contract. The cost of the 16GB device will range between £135 and free, depending on tariff.

The operator, which was selected as Apple's partner for the iPhone in the UK, launched the 2G iPhone with consumer tariffs only—telling business customers they must take out an 18-month consumer contract if they wanted to use it.

Speaking to silicon.com back in February, O2's head of business sales, Ben Dowd, said the company hoped to be able to launch a business tariff "some time this year". That date is now July 11—the day the new 3G iPhone goes on sale.

O2 said iPhone business customers will be able to have several iPhones and other devices on one account, and all on the same bill. iPhone users also get unlimited data browsing, email downloads and unlimited access to 9,500 wi-fi hotspots through The Cloud and BT Openzone networks.

As with all O2 business tariffs, corporate iPhone users will get unlimited calls to any O2 mobile and to 10 UK landline numbers, it added.

Non-corporate customers can also get their hands on a 'free' 8GB 3G iPhone if they opt for either a £45 or £75 per month tariff. The cost of the handset for those on lower cost tariffs (£30 or £35 per month) will be £99—which is a significant drop from the original £269 price-tag.

Customers wanting to get a 'free' 16GB iPhone will have to be willing to shell out £75 per month on their tariff. Otherwise the device will cost £159 (on £30 and £35 tariffs), and £59 (on the £45 tariff)—another hefty price cut.

The original 16GB iPhone retailed at £329 in the UK.

Ronan Dunne, CEO of O2 in the UK, said the new price structure makes the device "more affordable for even more customers".

Pricing for O2 Pay & Go customers will be confirmed in the coming weeks, O2 added.