Rumours had it that O2 UK is going to offer an unlocking service to all its Iphone customers provided they have completed their contract. This is a far cry from two years ago when O2 UK won the bid to offer the Iphone handsets to customers in the UK. To me, O2 UK is restricting an Iphone user's freedom to use SIM cards from other operators. This is a clear breach of a person's freedom to choose as laid down under the ECHR.
Two years have passed and O2 UK's exclusivity with Apple will be coming to an end next week. Apparently, Orange UK will start selling the Iphone 3G/3GS on November 10, 2009. Vodafone UK will follow Orange UK's footstep by introducing the Iphone 3G/3GS in February 2010. While many people are hoping for a price war when Orange UK and Vodafone UK start to sell Iphone across the board, Orange UK will not be doing so for the foreseeable future, not for now, at least. They are going to launch the Iphone with an "added value plan" instead of lowering the price of the phone.
However, not all are lost. I believe that given the time scale and patience, the price of the Iphone 3G/3GS will be lowered some how. This is true because consumers are most probably waiting for the cheapest deal before signing up for one for 18/24 months. A reduction of £5 a month will see a saving of £90 over 18 months. It is still too early to say whether consumers will benefit from the Orange deal of the Iphone but surely it is a good move by Orange as it encourages competition.
For those Iphone users who could not wait for the official unlocking code from O2 UK, they could unlock their Iphones by using one of the methods endorsed by the Dev-Team. Never upgrade the Iphone's firmware to 3.1.2 unless you do not want to unlock it. unlocking the Iphone will render the Iphone usable in different countries as you can insert sim cards other than O2 UK.
If your Iphone 3G/3GS have been accidentally upgraded to the latest 3.1.2 firmware, do not despair. GeoHat has successfully released his blackra1n software to the public. The software will allow Iphone users with firmware 3.1 and above to jaibreak the unit. However, Jailbreaking is not unlocking the Iphone. We have to wait for another 3 days before GeoHat releases the unlocking software. I will be waiting for it.
In the mean time, I feel that the Iphone 3GS is not worth buying it on contract. The best thing is not to use it. I don't feel particularly comfortable using the Iphone 3GS even though the cpu is twice the speed of the Iphone or the 3G version. Inflexible OS couple with the weight and the need to pay for tethering puts me off from getting an Iphone 3GS for myself.