iPhone 5 on O2 '4G Promise' is an early upgrade, for a price

O2 has promised that if you buy the iPhone 5, it'll let you upgrade to a 4G phone when its network kicks in next year.

O2 is promising customers who buy the iPhone 5 on its network the chance to upgrade early to a 4G device -- but only if you're willing to pay out the remainder of your contract.

"Our new 4G Phone Promise means customers who purchase an iPhone 5 then want to change to a 4G phone next year can upgrade mid-way through their contract," the oxygenated operator opines.

Apple's new iPhone comes with 4G capability, but it will only latch onto the 1,800MHz spectrum band, which is the frequency that EE (formerly Everything Everywhere) will be using for its  brand new 4GEE service .

That means O2 and Vodafone customers won't be able to get 4G using the iPhone 5, even once those operators get their own networks set up next year. That's unless Apple releases a modified version of the iPhone 5 that's compliant with those networks' spectrum, but whether that will happen is anyone's guess.

O2's 'promise' gives you the chance to upgrade early to one of the 4G phones that will soon be available on its network. There's a catch however, as if you decide to upgrade you'll need to pay out the rest of your contract.

O2 says it'll take care of 10 per cent of that fee and the VAT, though by example the blue-hued operator says if you sign up to a 24-month, £36 tariff in September and want to switch to a 4G-capable phone in May, you'll need to pay £414.72 for the privilege of opting out early.

O2 points out you can cut that lump payment down by recycling your existing phone, but in essence you're just buying your way out of a contract as you normally would if you decide to cancel early, albeit with a 10 per cent discount. Not only that, but you may still need to pay more for the new handset.

One more thing to note -- this '4G Phone Promise' only applies if you're buying the iPhone 5 to start with.

The launch of EE's 4G network has put rival mobile networks into a spin, as their own 4G networks won't be ready until at least next year. We still don't know the price of that first 4G network, though we should find out soon.

Want an idea of how fast EE's 4G network is? Check out our early speed test video . Meanwhile there's loads more info on the UK's first 4G network in the video below.

Are you excited about 4G? Or are you happy to wait until all networks have the speedy new tech running reliably? Tell me in the comments below or on our Facebook wall.

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About the author

Luke Westaway is a senior editor at CNET and writer/ presenter of Adventures in Tech, a thrilling gadget show produced in our London office. Luke's focus is on keeping you in the loop with a mix of video, features, expert opinion and analysis.

 

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