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Orange’s iPhone 4 Pricing Reveals Micro-SIM lock-in

The micro-SIM cards used in Apple’s iPhone 4 and iPad are more restrictive than was feared, according to Orange’s price plans

On by Tom Jowitt 8

Apple has confirmed that users will not be able to share their micro-SIM between an iPhone 4 and an iPad, as the cards are not interchangeable between the devices.

Concerns have been raised that Apple is using smaller SIM cards to limit users’ options. In January, it was revealed that the Apple iPad used a micro-SIM. Although the micro-SIM is an approved standard, it is smaller than conventional SIMs, and means that even if they “jailbreak” their device and remove software locks, users can only go to an Apple-approved operator for their contract.

Two Contracts

The Orange pricing reveals, in a Q&A on the FAQ pages, that the lock-in extends to two micro-SIM devices supplied by the same operator: “Are iPhone 4 and iPad micro-SIM cards interchangeable? No. Your iPad micro-SIM card will not work with your iPhone.”

The news will disappoint Apple users who had been hoping to use any spare data allowance from one device on the other machine. It also means that a user who has both an iPhone and a 3G iPad will have to sign up to two separate mobile contracts. Apple has also ruled out tethering the iPad to the iPhone, since both devices are USB “peripherals” and tethering requires a wired USB connection.

Some determined users will probably get around the micro-SIM problem. Last month users were shown how to make a traditional SIM card fit into an Apple iPad, after a British man obtained an iPad 3G from the US, and trimmed down a conventional SIM card (with a cleaver), so it would fit the device’s micro-SIM slot.

Speaking to PC Pro, an O2 spokesperson said that the reason for the lack of interoperability is that  the SIMs are quite different.

“Both use a mini-SIM, but the iPad micro-SIM is not, for example, provisioned for voice, and focuses on flexible data,” O2 told PC Pro. “The micro-SIM for the iPhone is set up for voice and other functionality.”

Orange iPhone 4 Tariffs

The iPhone 4 has been selling fast, with the news that Apple has stopped taking pre-orders for the 24 June launch of its iPhone 4, and Tesco has joined the list of companies selling the phone in the UK.

Meanwhile Orange has become the first UK operator to reveal its UK tariffs for the iPhone 4 and the UK operator has decided to undercut Apple’s official UK prices, albeit somewhat modestly.

Apple has already said that the unlocked iPhone 4 (16GB) will cost £499, whereas the larger 32GB device will cost an eye watering £599. However Orange is offering the 16GB model for £480, with the 32GB model costing £570. It is worth noting that these handsets would be locked to Orange’s network.

However, Orange’s iPhone 4 will be available on three different plans, including the contract based pay monthly plan, a pay-as-you-go (PAYG) handset, and business tariffs.

Users should be able to get the 16GB iPhone 4 for free, providing they commit to a 2 year contract at a hefty £75 a month. This options allows for unlimited texts and calling, with a bonus 100 minutes and 20MB roaming in Europe.

Meanwhile for an eighteen month contract on the £75 tariff, users will pay £100 for a 16GB handset or £140 for a 32GB model, both with 3,000 minutes and 500 texts.

Business iPhone customers will be able to get a 16GB iPhone 4 for just £24.68 on a 24-month £40 per month contract that offers 1,200 inclusive minutes and 200 texts.

Interestingly, every tariff seems to offer unlimited browsing, despite clear signs that mobile networks are feeling the strain from data usage, Orange users will be limited to 750MB of data, a move which follows O2′s announcement that it no longer supports unlimited data – a move which has sparked a protest next week.

Tom Jowitt
Author: Tom Jowitt
Freelance TechWeek Reporter
Tom Jowitt Tom Jowitt Tom Jowitt
Techweekeurope for mobile devices
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Last comment




8 replies to Orange’s iPhone 4 Pricing Reveals Micro-SIM lock-in

  • On June 17, 2010 at 8:17 am by Industry Insider

    The iPhone 4 provisioned SIM would probably work in an iPad – the APN’s are the same. The iPad SIM would work in an iPhone but only for data purposes. The networks are only using one micro sim variant – it is the account products that are different. (There is still no reason that prevents you from ‘trimming’ a normal SIM down to size the chip itself is the same. O2 are supplying an adaptor to turn your micro sim into a mini sim again.

  • On June 17, 2010 at 9:23 am by Mickey

    Hi All,

    I own an ipad, and i also cut a convential sim down to a micro-sim. But i believe the any sims work, as i bought a o2 payg sim, which allows unlimited internet (500meg fair usage) when you top up £10 a month. I figured i would use the unlimited internet in the first month when i topped up £10, and the £10 credit thats left will be used the 2nd month, therefore i actually pay £5/month. Anyway the point was that voice enabled sims do work in an ipad, just you might not be able to use the voice bit.

  • On June 17, 2010 at 9:25 am by Mickey

    Also to point out i’ve had the ipad for nearly a month, so far so good.

  • On June 17, 2010 at 9:59 am by Tomchap

    Thanks for that info Mickey, sounds like a very good idea to me!

    Nice one :)

  • On June 23, 2010 at 7:10 pm by Gavin Randell

    What a load of rubbish! Any sim card will work if it is the correct size. The micro sim from iPhone 4 WILL work in an iPad. The only thing that you may need to do is change the APN in settings. Currently iPad sims use the APN name orangedata and the iPhone 4 will more than likely be orangeinternet. Who writes these articles! Honestly that kind of rubbish exasperates me!!

  • On July 23, 2010 at 9:07 pm by Richard

    Hi guys. Just bought my Iphone 4g and now looking for the microsim adapter. I’ve heard http://www.gomicrosim.com has good price and quality and is based in UK. What do you think, is it worth buing one?

  • On November 10, 2010 at 2:59 pm by Freeman Ibekwe

    Richard, I think you know the answer to the question below as you must have something to do with them.
    Thanks

    Richard says:
    July 23, 2010 at 9:07 pm
    Hi guys. Just bought my Iphone 4g and now looking for the microsim adapter. I’ve heard http://www.gomicrosim.com has good price and quality and is based in UK. What do you think, is it worth buing one?

  • On November 24, 2010 at 8:29 pm by Dan

    Freeman Ibekwe,
    Great reply, couldn’t have said it any better

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