Head to head: iPhone on O2 vs Vodafone

As Vodafone gets its paws on the iPhone we take one out on the road to see how it compares with O2.

It's been a long time coming but after nearly two-and-a-half years of exclusivity, the iPhone is now available in the UK from no less than four suppliers, O2, Orange, Vodafone and Tesco Mobile.

Many in the industry believe that O2 paid an arm and a leg for its initial exclusivity, in a bid to establish itself as the UK's leading network. It's a bid that clearly worked, as until the merger deal between Orange and T-Mobile comes to fruition, O2 will remain the network with the largest customer base in the UK.

However, O2 has found itself to be a victim of its own success with its network having gone down several times last year under the strain. One of the attractions of the iPhone is that it remains the best device for browsing the internet wherever you are without having to rely on Wi-Fi. So, if you can't use it effectively wherever you are, then much of its appeal is gone.

As Vodafone is the latest to join the iPhone party, we took an O2 iPhone and a Vodafone-powered iPhone out on the road to see how they compared.

We looked at three areas - tariffs, customisation and, finally, network performance.

Tariffs

When it comes to tariffs there was hope that when O2 lost its iPhone exclusivity the competition would start a price war, but sadly this has proved not to be the case. O2 and Vodafone are essentially matched and the differences are minor. Taking the typical 35 a month 24-month tariff, Vodafone will charge you 89 and give you 600 minutes and unlimited' texts. On O2, the only difference is that the mobile giant gives you 500 texts, but unless you're a text monster, for most individuals and small businesses that would be tantamount to unlimited.

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