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O2 reveals pay as you go iPhone 4, Vodafone still cheaper

O2 is the next network to reveal its price for the iPhone 4 on pay as you go, which could end up cheaper than a contract if you're willing to pay dosh up front

O2 has followed Vodafone's lead and revealed its price for the iPhone 4 on pay as you go.

At £495, the price of the phone only ever so slightly undercuts the £500 you can get it for unlocked from the Apple Store, and is £15 more than the price Vodafone is offering.

The 32GB version is available at £595, virtually the same price as the unlocked 32GB version direct from Apple at £599, and still £25 more than the equivalent model offered by Vodafone.

The pay as you go deal from O2 offers extra joy if you are willing to top up £10 a month, with 300 UK texts and 500MB of inclusive Internet to use within that period. The Vodafone deal gives you an automatic 250MB of mobile Internet, but doesn't offer free texts.

At the end of the day, there doesn't look to be much difference between the networks if you're after an iPhone without a contract and want to pay only for what you use.

It's taken the networks a fair while to show their hand as far as pay as you go prices are concerned, and it's likely to have been longer if Apple hadn't gone and offered an unlocked iPhone 4 direct from its store.

Contracts lock you in long-term and can often end up costing more than simply buying the phone up front and choosing the tariff most suitable for your own specific needs. Pay as you go also means you can pick and choose networks as you please, and easily leave a network if you're not happy with the service.

Just because the networks have started to announce their pay as you go prices, it doesn't mean the iPhone 4 is any easier to get hold of.

Apple still has to plough through a backlog of orders, and until this is dealt with, the networks aren't going to be able to offer the handsets many of their customers want.

You can order an iPhone 4 now at O2's Web site.