O2 has increased the price of phones like the Nokia N96 and BlackBerry Bold, ahead of the launch of the new iPhone this Friday.
Originally, these premium devices were free with midrange tariffs; on the new price plans, they are free only on the highest tariff, £73.41 monthly. Now customers on the midrange £45 plan are charged £49 for both phones.
According to Mobile News, the BlackBerry Curve 8900 and Sony Ericsson C905 have also risen up the tariff ladder. O2 did just the same last year - when the iPhone 3G was announced, the operator responded by raising the cost of its competitor handsets.
To make a few hundred quid for a little piece of Apple seem reasonable? Perhaps. O2 says of course they're just 'meeting the demands of [their] customer] base'.
Similar has been observed at Orange, where the Nokia N96 now costs £97 on tariffs priced £40 a month and above, while the BlackBerry Bold now costs £48.50 on the same plan. Both were previously free.
Meanwhile, other retailers and operators have kept pricing constant. And Phones 4U even continues to offer the N96 free with O2 tariffs of £35 or more, or with Orange tariffs of £30 or more.