Finally, I've managed to get my old, first generation iPhone officially unlocked...
Unsurprisingly, this service, provided by O2 in the UK since 11th November, is not widely advertised. Only by a chance search on the O2 website did I find that this could be done. So now I have my spare iPhone on Vodafone Smartstep, Pay as you go. This will give me ample opportunity to assess the quality of the Vodafone service in my area, prior to upgrading my current 3GS when the O2 contract expires, late in 2010.
Now that the iPhone is becoming non-exclusive to O2, (Orange became the first new provider on 10th November, and Vodafone will be stocking and supporting the iPhone early next year) I suspect that there will be a flood of people migrating to other carriers once their contracts have expired. Some may even be prepared to buy out the remaining term and switch sooner.
My signal strength and coverage has been poor with O2. Even though I live less than half a mile from a cellphone mast, I've had little or no signal at home, and patchy, and in some cases no reception in a number of the places where I work. This has meant that for last two years, I've been carrying two mobile phones - one for phone calls and the iPhone for everything else.
To visit the O2 iPhone unlocking webpage, follow this link.