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Australians Getting Raw Deal iPhone 3G Plans

Posted By Darren Rowse 10th of July 2008 ProBlogger Site News 0 Comments

I don’t usually go off topic here at ProBlogger but just having seen the Telstra Plans for the iPhone 3G (a device I was excited to be able to use in my blogging) I’m incredibly frustrated.

If you’re sick of iPhone blog posts today – feel free to skip this little rant – but I needed to get it off my chest.

Having had to wait until tomorrow to officially be able to buy an iPhone in Australia (I resisted the urge to import one and hack it like 60,000 other Australians did) I was excited that Apple were going global with the iPhone 3G. I was also excited to hear Steve Jobs talk about its affordability.

3 carriers are selling the iPhone tomorrow here in Australia – Telstra (the only one who can deliver full speed pretty much nationally), Optus and Vodaphone. All have been quite secretive about their plans – particularly the cost of data (important as the iPhone is going to be used for data quite a bit – particularly for me as a blogger).

I understand the secrecy to a degree – but with less than 12 hours before some of them open their stores to customers wanting to buy the phone to have not released all information on their plans is not really helping customers make an informed choice. Telstra’s website encourages people to go to their stores for more information – I’ve been to two and staff knew next to nothing except for the release date.

I travel around Australia quite a bit so ideally want to stay with Telstra (my current carrier). They have always been quite expensive but for the coverage I’ve been willing to stick with them in the past and have bought myself a wireless modem for on the road blogging – ie I’ve never used data with Telstra as last time I checked it cost $5 for 5MB!).

Forums are going crazy here in Australia today as Telstra’s iPhone plans (pdf) have been leaked by Telstra employees.

I won’t go through all of the plan options here (you can download it yourself if you care to do so) but the plans are ridiculous – laughably so. They don’t include all details (like excess data costs, call rates, connection costs etc).

The Plans

A $35 per month plan on the 8GB iPhone will get you the iPhone for $279, $25 of calls per month (note: we don’t know the call rate but they are normally about 30-40c per 30 seconds with Telstra 3G so this is 60-80 minutes a month) and 5MB of data (that’s enough to download 1 iPhone Ap and then be over your limit). This is a 24 month plan.

To get anything approaching the kind of data you need you need to go up to an $89 plan:

An $89 plan will get you the 8GB iPhone for $279, $25 of calls and 200MB of data.

I’m not sure how much data I’ll need but I’m suspecting 200MB will not really be enough. I’d probably need a minimum of 500MB but 1GB would be good for when on the road. $25 of calls isn’t enough either!

In terms of my data and call requirements I think I’d need to go to a plan costing $169 a month which would get me the phone for free, 1GB of data and $70 of calls. If I wanted a 16GB iPhone the same plan would cost me $189 and include $90 of calls).

$189 per month for 24 months?

I could switch to another carrier for cheaper options (Optus seems to have the best on offer – but are still much more expensive than what I’ve seen elsewhere in the world) but would lose coverage and speed when outside major cities.

The 1GB plan with Optus is $99 a month with $94 of calls and a free handset over 12 months. With Vodaphone it’s $169 a month for 1GB but you get $1200 of calls.

I currently have a phone that costs me around $40 a month (I got a free Nokia phone with that) for calls and mobile broadband with ‘3’ that costs me $29 per month and gives me 2GB of data. I’ve got me a slightly dated iPod that does the job too if I need a music and photo player.

So today when Apple sent me an email reminding me that the ‘affordable’ iPhone is being released tomorrow and that I should go out and pick one up I replied to the email with an ‘expression of disappointment’ in their partners and the comment that I think I’ll go and get me a new Nokia. I think I might go and find me a new carrier too!

PS: Just got an email from Telstra telling me where I can pick up an iPhone. They have them at 15 stores in the whole of Australia! That’s like 1 store for every 1.42 million Australians! Way to go Telstra!

Update: for a good round up of the Australian Blogosphere’s reaction to the iPhone and pricing of plans see AcidLabs.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. We will get a co-op alternative to the Australian telephone companies up and running if 10,000 people join: https://www.thepoint.com/campaigns/fauc

    Please let everyone know! Hopefully an alternative will be more receptive to new technology and won’t charge as much as it does for the iPhone’s basic functions.

    At the very least, it’ll send pressure to Telstra, Vodafone, etc. to lower their prices.

  2. It would be great to see a phone co-op up and running in Australia. However, I’m not sure that it can make much difference to the mobile phone markets now.

    Telephones are a licensed market in most places and those licenses often sell for silly numbers – telephone numbers, even. They’re difficult for most new cooperatives to afford today, what with co-operative finance usually being a bit more limited than what public companies can get by betting their company and its pension fund.

    So, my phone co-op (thephone.coop) buys UK mobile phone services from one of the five UK mobile licensees. It’s only relatively recently been able to shop around for fixed phone service supply, instead of having to buy from the British Telecom privatised monopoly. It doesn’t give any revolutionary deals, but I think it has been useful in pressuring the regulators and politicians to open up services to competition.

    Still, it gives better service than I’ve had from any other phone company.

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