How to buy an iPhone on 9 November

O2 says it has worked hard to ensure its systems are ready to cope with huge amounts of iPhone activations following the UK launch on 9 November

The Apple iPhone officially goes on sale in the UK on Friday 9 November - that's just 22 days from today. To help you get ready for the big day we've teamed up with O2 to bring you tips and advice on getting out of your existing contract, activating the iPhone and avoiding unnecessary penalty charges. So without further ado, here's what you need to know:

Existing O2 customers

If you're already an O2 customer and have bought or upgraded your handset before 19 September (when the UK launch of the Apple iPhone was announced), you're in luck. You will be able to upgrade to an Apple iPhone without any extra contract charges.

If you have recently moved over to O2 (on or after 19 September), and want to switch to an Apple iPhone tariff, you'll have to pay £219 on top of the £260 Apple iPhone price to cancel your current subscription.

Customers on other networks

If you're on a non-O2 network, you'll need to request a Porting Authorisation Code, or PAC code, from your network provider. It can take up to five working days to get your PAC code, so remember to do it in plenty of time.

If you're still within your current contract and you still want to upgrade to an Apple iPhone, you'll have to pay a penalty charge to break your contract. This charge varies between operators.

Activating the iPhone

Activating the Apple iPhone is done entirely via Apple's iTunes software.

Existing O2 customers will be able activate the Apple iPhone and transfer their existing number using the activation process, which guides you step by step. The iTunes software (make sure you have the latest iTunes 7.4 version) will automatically recognise when you signed up to O2, and whether you're liable to pay any penalty charges.

If you're on a non-O2 network, you'll need to enter a PAC code, which is provided by your network operator. Don't despair if it still hasn't turned up by the 9 November Apple iPhone launch date however; Apple will provide a temporary phone number for you to use so you can still go ahead and activate your phone.

O2 has worked hard to make sure the activation process goes as smoothly as possible, a senior member of staff told us this morning.

"We've learnt lessons from the activation problems some Apple iPhone users in the US had," the O2 insider said. "We've had plenty of time to prepare, and have worked closely with both Apple and AT&T to ensure that our systems are ready to handle a large number of activations at the same time."