O2, Palm Pre's exclusive carrier when it comes to the UK from 16 October, has announced pricing for the iPhone rival which will cost the same in monthly charges as Apple's 3GS device.

According to Telegraph, O2 has priced the Pre similarly to the iPhone 3G, the predecessor to Apple's current handset, the 3GS.

Monthly tariffs for the Pre start at £29.38 ($43.16) per month on an 18-month contract. Customers signing up for that tariff will need to pay £96.89 ($142.33) for the Pre - exactly the same tariff and handset price they would pay for the Apple iPhone 3G.

Other customers who sign up to a 24-month contract, which costs £34.26 per month, will receive their Pre for free, as will those on 18-month contracts who sign up the the £44.05 ($64.71) or £73.41($107.84) per month tariffs. All monthly tariffs include unlimited data use.

There's a lot of excitement about Palm Pre in Europe, Jon Rubinstein, a former Apple executive and now chairman of Palm was cited as saying. We look forward to launching Palm Pre with O2 so people in the UK can see firsthand how Palm webOS offers a new and better smartphone experience.

Signing an exclusivity deal with Palm for the Pre was something of a coup for O2, which is also the sole network partner for the iPhone in the UK. It means the network operator now has the exclusive rights to two of the most sought-after handsets on the market.

Today's announcement reinforces O2's position as the home of the smartphone, said Ronan Dunne, chief excutive of O2 in the UK. With the addition of the excellent Palm Pre to our already extensive portfolio, we will continue to offer our customers the widest range of the very best devices on the market today.

O2 also confirmed it would sell the Touchstone, a wireless charging pad for the Palm Pre. The pad itself plugs in to the wall, and the Pre is rested on top of it, charged via inductive technology.

The Pre features a 3.1-inch touch-screen display, a slide-out Qwerty keyboard, a three-megapixel camera, push email support and high-speed internet access over the 3G network and Wi-Fi.

It went on sale in the US in June where it has been a critical success, and is widely viewed as the first mobile phone capable of competing with Apple's iPhone. The Pre uses a cutting-edge operating system, webOS, to pull together contacts and profiles from a host of networks and social media sites, and makes them accessible through a single user interface.