iPhone 4: O2 says no to new customers

Thinking of signing up to O2 for your brand new Apple iPhone 4? Think again my friend

Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
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O2 won't be selling the iPhone 4 to new customers for at least a month. The much-anticipated phone hits shops on Thursday, but all O2's stock will be restricted to existing O2 customers.

O2 has announced that the iPhone 4 won't be available to buy online from O2 until "at least the end of July". The iPhone 4 will only be available at launch to users of O2's mobile, mobile broadband, home broadband and home phone packages. It's no use signing up now, though: you have to have been with the network since at least May.

O2 has the biggest population of iPhone owners, because it was the exclusive carrier of earlier models, which means 3G and 3GS owners will be coming to the end of their contracts soon and may be tempted to play the iPhone 4 field. If they are, they'll be able to pay off the rest of their contract at a reduced rate.

We asked the other networks if they had similar plans. 3 wouldn't comment, Tesco and T-Mobile haven't got back to us and Orange is out of the office. Vodafone, however, told us it will "sell the iPhone to anybody who wants to be on the best network!"

Most O2 stores will open early on Thursday, at 8.02am. The new iPhone will be available at more outlets than any previous version, on shelves at Apple stores, Carphone Warehouse, Best Buy and Phones4U, as well as from networks. Where are you planning to get yours?

If you're an O2 customer, will this ringfencing of stock tempt you to stick with the network that used to be the only option for iPhone? Or can nothing stop you jumping ship? Hit us up in the comments. And don't forget to keep up to date with the iPhone 4 deals with our maths-tastic iPhone 4 deal comparison.