Could the new iPhone be free?

O2 rumoured to heavily subsidise next model


The new 3G iPhone could be available for nothing in the UK through O2, as the operator plans to offer heavy subsidies in a bid to win more customers.

The company saw sales of the iPhone climb significantly when it knocked £100 off the price of the 8GB model earlier this year, and looks set to repeat the trick if / when the new iPhone is released.

Both sides of the pond

O2’s iPhone US counterpart AT&T is also rumoured to be considering a similar scheme in a bid to boost subscriber numbers.

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Apparently, despite decent sales after the release, some customers baulked at the lack of subsidy being offered, so AT&T looks set to change its policy.

However, it will only be offered through AT&T outlets, so some incentive might need to be offered for those choosing to buy through the Apple store.

Encouraging new iPhone customers could be difficult should a new model be released only a year after the first iteration, with many still locked into 18- or 24-month contracts.

The companies mentioned could choose to offer a subsidised upgrade in order to appease the hordes of iPhone-lovers who will feel cheated after supporting the device from the outset.