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iPhone 5c splits mobile operators

SFR and Orange tie new smartphone to top-end contracts with cheaper upfront cost – but Bouygues offers low-cost deals

PRICING of the new iPhone 5c in France has split the leading operators, with SFR and Orange opting for a cheaper upfront payment for the phone but tied to a more expensive long-term contract – while Bouygues charges a little more upfront while also offering low-cost contracts.

SFR has Apple’s 16Gb multi-colour smartphone at €60 (€260 upfront with €200 repaid after two months) but users must be on a top-flight contract costing €80 a month over two years.

That makes the total cost of the phone and contract €1,980, with unlimited calls and texts in France and to international landlines and mobiles, 6Gb of data and 4G network availability. SFR also has the 5c at a range of upfront prices on different contracts, including €160 upfront and €60/month.

Orange has the 16Gb model at €99 (€199 upfront and €100 repaid) and linked to a contract of €80 per month for 24 months. Its contract is similar to SFR’s but does not offer unlimited calls to European mobile numbers. The total cost is €2,019.

Orange’s upfront cost increases to €199 for a cheaper contract at €50 a month for 4Gb, to €300 for a €40/month contract and €400 for a €30/month deal and just 500Mb of internet.

Bouygues Telecom offers a different way of charging, with a supplement on top of the contract and a wide range of low-cost forfaits.

The phone costs from €130 to €290 plus €8 a month for 24 months and contracts start at just €13/month for the 3G network with two hours of calls, free texts and 100Mb of data, increasing to €50/month for 8Gb on the 4G network and unlimited calls to international landlines, but not European mobiles. The top-rate 4G deal costs €1,522 (with a €100 rebate after three months).

Free Mobile has the iPhone 5c at €565 (or in four interest-free payments), like Orange’s low-cost Sosh deal, which prices it at €539, and both have a range of contract prices.

The phone is not available until September 20 and must be pre-ordered.

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