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iPhone 4 on pay as you go for £480 with Vodafone

Vodafone is the first company to announce a price for iPhone 4 on pay as you go, so you have the choice to pay a pound of flesh up front or bleed out slowly on a long-term contract

Vodafone is offering the iPhone 4 on pay as you go, which means you now have the choice to pay a pound of flesh up front or bleed out slowly on a long-term contract.

The black iPhone 4 32GB is available for £570 and the iPhone 4 16GB for £480, which is £20 cheaper than buying it unlocked from the Apple store. You can also get the iPhone 3GS 8GB for £385 on this scheme.

There are a few Internet freebies included in the deal before November, though they aren't particularly useful for a heavy user. You get a measly 250MB of data a month, and 1GB of Wi-Fi with BT Openzone.

On the surface, this may sound expensive, but it can end up cheaper overall if you're not a heavy caller, texter or Web user. It also leaves you open to pick up the yearly iPhone upgrade and sell your old phone.

The minimum 18-month contract, including 75 minutes and 250 texts, is £219 for the device and £30 a month after that. This price includes 1GB of free Internet data each month, so think carefully if you know you're going to go over the 250MB allowance.

Standard pay as you go prices are 20p a minute for calls to any UK mobile network, standard landline or voicemail, and text messages are 10p each.

Vodafone doesn't have any iPhone 4s in stock, however, because Apple is still trying to clear a backlog of orders through its retail and mail-order store.

While other companies offer the iPhone 4 SIM-only, Vodafone is the first to reveal its pay as you go pricing plans. Pay as you go deals used to be unheard of for the iPhone, but Apple's decision to sell the iPhone 4 unlocked has forced companies to have a rethink.

O2, for instance, has already gone ahead and offered a selection of top-notch BlackBerry handsets on pay as you go this week.