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Palm Pre Free In The UK With Contract

The Palm Pre will hit the European market on October 16 and when it arrives in England, it will be free with a two year contract. This compares to $249.99 in the US, or $149.99 after a $100 mail in rebate. What gives? Why is the entry fee in the UK lower than in the US, or perhaps more importantly, why doesn't the Pre command a bit more respect in the UK?
The Palm Pre will hit the European market on October 16 and when it arrives in England, it will be free with a two year contract. This compares to $249.99 in the US, or $149.99 after a $100 mail in rebate. What gives? Why is the entry fee in the UK lower than in the US, or perhaps more importantly, why doesn't the Pre command a bit more respect in the UK?According to TheStreet.com, O2 users will pay $1,711 for the device over the two year contract period that is required to get the $0 entry fee. O2 will have exclusive rights in the UK as well as Germany. German users will have to fork over $73 for the phone though, which isn't free, but is less than half of what US subscribers pay after the rebate.

On the cheapest plan Sprint has in the US, you pay $69.99 for 450 anytime minutes, unlimited texting, messaging and data, plus unlimited nights and weekends. that totals nearly $1,830 over the two year contract, including the rebate.

O2 really doesn't have much choice though. They already offer the iPhone 3GS for free with their best contracts. They couldn't very well charge for the Pre, which has met with lukewarm reception in the US. Palm sold 823,000 total phones in the third quarter, and that includes the older Treo and Centro lines. No matter the mix, the Pre has sold well below one million in its first three months. This compares to one million the iPhone 3GS sold in three days.

It remains to be seen if there is going to be enough interest in the Pre and WebOS to save Palm in the long run. In the meantime, some of our friends across the pond can enjoy the Pre with no money down.