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UK iPhone 3G users hoping that the network operator with the exclusive contract on the new iPhone 3GS might see sense and let them upgrade have been dealt a body blow as O2 confirms they can go and swivel on Twitter.

The iPhone 3GS will be upon us in a week or so. Brilliant stuff, especially seeing as predictions about the tech spec were pretty spot on. What a shame, then, that UK users are going to once again get shafted by mobile operator O2 over pricing, thanks to the exclusivity contract it has with Apple.

First the good news: the iPhone 3GS will be a 7.2Mbits/sec super-speedy HSDPA supporting, 3 megapixel camera toting, 30fps video shooting, hardware encryption protected, voice controlled wonder. What's more, Apple has somehow managed to pack all this additional functionality into a form factor some 23 percent smaller than the iPhone 3G that went before it. No wonder Apple is calling it the "fastest, most powerful iPhone yet."

Now for the bad news, if you happen to be in the UK as I do: Apple has renewed the exclusivity contract with O2 rather than do the decent thing and open up access to the new iPhone to all mobile operators and therefore drive down the cost to the consumer through competitive pricing deals. Not only will new customers get shafted by having to pay £274 for a 32GB iPhone 3GS on an 18 month contract whereas in the US it will only cost £187 ($299), and if you want to use the new Internet-tethering functionality that will be an extra £15 per month thanks, but existing customers get double-shafted.

O2 has today confirmed there will be no upgrade path for iPhone 3G users, no matter when they took out their 18 month contract. According to O2 which made the statements in reply to complaints on Twitter "If you’ve already got an iPhone 3G and would like a 3G S, you will need to pay extra to end your contract. If you would like to know how much it costs to end your tariff early, please head to an O2 store or call us up - it will vary."

So there you have it, O2 are basically telling existing customers to go swivel. Nice one. Sure, you can have a nice shiny new 3GS instead of the now somewhat dull 3G you took out on an 18 month contract just the other week, but you will have to pay off that entire contract and then pay the full going rate for the new hardware and lock yourself into another 18 month contract.

Way to go O2, you sure know how to keep your customers happy. have you been taking lessons from the Apple customer relations department?

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