Telstra, Optus and Apple itself have released their respective local pricing details for the iPhone 4, with the big T also confirming it would open its stores around Australia at midnight on Thursday night to give full access to customers keen to pick up the hyped Apple handset as soon as possible.
Optus yesterday told customers it would open a handful of stores around the nation for midnight launches, but Telstra will open 25 — including, for example, stores in Tasmania and South Australia, where Optus will not open stores at midnight for the launch.
Both Optus and Telstra will launch the iPhone 4 on plans ranging from a $49 monthly capped plan upwards.
Telstra’s entry level $49 plan will see the customer provided with what Telstra described as $400 of included value – voice, SMS and MMS access to any Australian network – and 200MB of data allowance. If customers buy a 16GB iPhone 4, they will pay $149 upfront on the $49 plan, whereas if they buy a 32GB iPhone 4 they will pay $299 upfront.
Apple overnight said it would release a new 8GB iPhone 3GS model in Australia alongside the iPhone 4 – for which Telstra customers will pay nothing upfront on the $49 cap.
Telstra will also offer the iPhone 4 on a $79 cap plan, which will offer $750 of monthly included value and 500MB of data. Customers will pay nothing upfront for an 8GB iPhone 3GS or a 16GB iPhone 4 on the plan, but will $199 upfront for a 32GB iPhone 4.
Telstra’s top-end iPhone 4 plan is its $99 cap, which comes with 500Mb of data and $1,000 of included value. Customers will pay nothing upfront for any of the Apple handsets when they sign up for this plan. It is believed all of the iPhone plans are 24 month plans.
Optus will also offer potential iPhone 4 custmers a $49 capped plan — but with substantially better data allowance than Telstra. Optus customers will pick up $450 worth of monthly included value on the $49 plan and a whopping 1GB of data. They will pay nothing extra per month for the 8GB iPhone 3GS, $8 extra for the 16GB iPhone 4, and $15 for the 32GB iPhone 4 over the life of a 24 month contract.
The telco has three more iPhone plans — a $59 plan with $550 of included value and 2GB of data, a $79 plan with $800/2GB and an $89 plan with “unlimited” value and 3GB of data. Customers will pay nothing extra per month for their handsets under these plans — except for $10 per month for the 32GB iPhone 4 under the $59 plan.
The SingTel subsidiary said that since the iPhone 3G was launched in Australia in July 2008, it had “invested significantly in its mobile network”, building over 1,000 new 3G mobile sites and undertaking “well over 2,500 upgrades” to existing sites.
“In addition, over the past 12 months Optus has more than doubled the carrying capacity on its mobile network and bought additional spectrum for use in both metropolitan and regional Australia,” the company said in its statement.
But in a post on its Exchange blog, Telstra appeared to mock Optus’ efforts.
“As iPhone adoption soared, some Australian networks buckled under the load,” wrote Telstra executive director of mobility products, Ross Fielding.
“Customers reported slow page loads, extended buffering while streaming online media and age-long waits as they tried to update their social networking profiles. For many it was a mobile internet experience closer to dial-up than mobile broadband," the post reads.
“Telcos with foresight invested in their networks to stay ahead of the demand for data. For instance Telstra has now invested more than $2 billion in the Next G network to best ensure customers get the speeds, coverage and reliable access to online services they paid for.”
Vodafone Hutchison Australia
Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA) released its local iPhone 4 pricing this afternoon for its Vodafone and 3 brands, at the end of a day which has been packed full of announcements about how and at what price Apple's latest handset will launch in Australia late on Thursday night.
VHA will offer the iPhone 4 on both its Vodafone and 3 brands on monthly pricing plans that in some cases, appear to be cheaper than either Telstra or Optus. The cheapest monthly plan offered by both Optus and Telstra is a $49 capped plan, but 3 will offer the iPhone 4 on a $39 monthly plan, and Vodafone a $29 plan.
However, 3's $39 plan will, for example, require customers to pay an extra $10 per month in handset pricing for the 16GB iPhone 4, or $14 for the 32GB model – all on a 24 month plan. If customers opt to pick up the new 8GB 3GS handset, they will pay an extra $5 per month on the $39 plan.
The $39 plan does, however, come with a sizeable data allocation – VHA has listed it as coming with 150MB, plus a “bonus” 1GB – although it has not disclosed how long that bonus will last. The $39 plan comes with $200 worth of calls to Vodafone and 3 mobiles, plus $150 of calls and texts to any network. 3's iPhone 4 $49 and $79 plans also offer 1GB “bonus” data allocations.
Vodafone's $29 monthly iPhone 4 plan is – on paper – the cheapest iPhone 4 plan in Australia, but it will also require customers to pay $18 or $24 per month in handset costs for the 16GB or 32GB iPhone 4 respectively, pushing the actual monthly price up substantially.
VHA has not listed up-front costs for either its 3 or Vodafone brand for those who want to buy an iPhone 4 outright.
Vodafone's $29 iPhone 4 plan comes with 50MB of data, plus a “bonus” 500MB, “unlimited” calls to Vodafone and 3 customers and $180 worth of calls and text messages to any other network. The top Vodafone plan is a $99 option which comes with “unlimited” monthly credit on calls and 2GB of mobile data plus a bonus 1GB. Customers who sign up for a $99 Vodafone plan will not need to pay an extra handset costs per month.
Unlike Optus and Telstra, which have both confirmed they will open some retail outlets for midnight iPhone 4 launches, VHA has not yet detailed its own launch timing plans but is planning to do so Thursday.
Like VHA, the two other telcos will offer the iPhone on various plans underneath $100 per month, with the costliest being a Telstra option at $99 per month that comes with $1000 worth of included calling and SMS value and 500MB of data allowance. In general the Optus options come with greatly increased data quota compared to Telstra's plans, as well as increased included call and SMS value. However, independent tests have shown Telstra's Next G network to be superior to that of Optus on a range of criteria, although Optus' network was a viable alternative.
Meanwhile, Apple Australia late last night issued a cryptic statement stating the iPhone 4 would go on sale locally for a recommended retail price starting from AU$859 — but the company did not disclose any further details. There are several models of the iPhone 4 – with different 16GB and 32GB memory sizes.
Vodafone and 3 — both brands which are operated by mobile telco VHA in Australia – tweeted from their respective Twitter accounts yesterday that they would be updating customers on their iPhone 4 options on Wednesday. Optus subsidiary Virgin Mobile has not yet disclosed its pricing.
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