updated 01:00 pm EDT, Sat July 12, 2008
SetteB compares carriers
In a comparison of the iPhone contracts of 27 cellphone operators in 21 countries, UK carrier O2 was a far better deal than AT&T in the US, while Swisscom (Switzerland) had the least expensive outlay (albeit while offering voice calls and SMS 'separately'). setteB.IT analyzed the offerings of the 27 carriers, comparing overall costs of the (mostly) two-year contracts, along with the various limitations of data usage, visual voicemail and wi-fi access. Swisscom was the least expensive, at €540, but it listed voice calls and SMS as additional charges. Italy took the prize as most expensive, with a two-year contract costing €1615. Italy's offer does allow a healthy 600MB of data traffic per month, where most of the 27 contracts limited data to 100MB per month.
Among carriers offering unlimited internet traffic, the UK's O2 had the best deal, with an 18-month requirement, at €810, while AT&T in the US was higher, at €1292 ($2060) and O2 Japan was highest, at €1320 over two years.
Contracts vary widely, from Movistar Belgium's contract-free iPhone (mandated by local law), and Telia Denmark, requiring a six-month contract at the short end, to the extreme case of Canada's Rogers Wireless, require a 36-month contract. Purchasing an iPhone on Launch day in Canada locks a user to Roger until July 11, 2011.
Many carriers had heavy limitations or no offering at all on some iPhone services. T-Mobile Germany (300MB), T-Mobile Netherlands (250MB) and Movistar Spain (200MB) all drastically reduce data speeds for users that exceed their limits. Most carriers limit their bandwidth usage to 100MB per month, while Australia's Telstra cripples their iPhone with a 5MB per-month limit. Telstra Australia is also one of 22 carriers that do not have functioning Visual Voicemail.