3 gives free iPhone on $49 cap, tethering free

Pre-paid options also available

The venerable iPhone has joined the fold of regular subsidized mobile handsets with mobile carrier 3 announcing it will give away an iPhone 3G with its $49 per month cap over 24 months.

The deal, which offers an iPhone 3G 8GB with $590 of value and 250MB of data on a $49 cap, will be available from July 17.

Additional data packs of 500MB ($6 per month), 1GB ($10 per month) or 3GB ($20 per month) over 24 months are available, which allow the iPhone to be tethered to a computer for mobile internet access.

A spokesperson for 3 said tethering is also available with the standard package at no extra cost.

John Casey, director of marketing at VHA (the merged 3 and Vodafone), said the company hopes the deal will be “irresistible to customers”.

“Our customers have waited long enough,” Casey said. “We trust they’ll like our pricing and we’re even more confident that they’ll enjoy the entire iPhone experience with 3.”

3 joins Optus, Telstra and Vodafone to offer a iPhone on a combined voice and data plan.

The new iPhone 3GS (16GB) is available on the $49 Cap for an additional $5 per month with the 32GB model for an extra $10 per month.

Also on offer is a $110 per month “The Works” cap with 3000 minutes of voice calls, 500 text messages and 3GB of data. An iPhone 3G and 3GS (16GB) are available for free with this contract and the 3GS (32GB) will cost another $5 per month.

The iPhone is also available on pre-paid from 3 retail stores. The iPhone 3G 8GB is $759 upfront, the iPhone 3GS 16GB is $929 upfront and the iPhone 3GS 32GB is $1129 upfront.