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(Pocket-lint) - Apple has released an 8GB version of the iPhone 5C in the UK and Europe. Previously only available in 16GB and 32GB models, the new 8GB edition of the company's "budget" handset allows networks to offer attractive packages with the phone coming for little initial outlay.

O2 is offering the phone in the UK for a £49.99 upfront cost on a £28 a month, 24-month 4G contract. That offers 500 minutes, unlimited texts and 500MB of data. Pay £38 a month for a 4G 24-month contract and you can pick up the phone for £19.99. You also get unlimited texts and minutes plus 5GB of data allowance for that.

READ: Apple iPhone 5C review

The network is even offering the new 8GB 5C for free on a £43 a month contract, with 8GB of data.

Apple is also selling the handset for £429 SIM-free, £40 less than the 16GB model. It is yet to announce whether the 8GB iPhone 5C is coming to the US too.

The company has told Pocket-lint that it will be coming to Australia and China though. "The 8GB iPhone 5C model will be available in the UK, France, Germany, Australia and China on 18 March," it said.

Its decision could certainly be seen as further affirmation of the rapid rise in interest in 4G, even by those who can't afford smartphones at the premium end of the market.

Writing by Rik Henderson. Originally published on 18 March 2014.