Australian iPhone data plans

Vodafone, Optus and Telstra have announced their pricing plans for the iPhone here in Australia.  Take a look at a summary of their proposed pricing structures:

Price per month Included voice and TXT Included data
$19 – Optus $50 100Mb
$30 – Optus 3G wireless broadband N/A 1Gb
$35 – Vodafone 3G mobile broadband N/A 5Gb
$45 – Optus 3G wireless broadband N/A 2Gb
$49 – Optus $300 250Mb
$50 – Optus 3G wireless broadband N/A 5Gb
$59 – Optus $350 500Mb
$59 – Telstra (8Gb or 16Gb iPhone) $25 93Mb
$60 – Optus 3G wireless broadband N/A 6Gb
$69 – Vodafone $310 250Mb
$79 – Optus $550 700Mb
$89 – Optus $600 850Mb
$89 – Telstra (8Gb or 16Gb iPhone) $50 107Mb
$99 – Vodafone $600 500Mb
$109 – Telstra (8Gb or 16Gb iPhone) $70 107Mb
$119 – Vodafone $800 500Mb
$129 – Telstra (16Gb iPhone) $90 107Mb
$149 – Optus $1200 1Gb
$169 – Vodafone $1200 1Gb
$179 – Optus $1500 1Gb

I don’t think they understand what this phone is designed for and what makes it different from any other phone out there.  The difference between this phone and every other phone on the market is its ability to handle data.  If I purchase an iPhone, I’m not interested in getting ridiculous amounts of talk time, I’m interested in data.  I’m still going to keep on making $30 of voice calls each month, regardless of what phone I’m using.  Having data plans starting at 256Mb is simply crazy (although you can still get home broadband plans that have similar low amounts).  Given my browsing habits at home (and the fact that I can jump onto a wi-fi network) I could quite easily cope with 1Gb of data for the time being, but when I only make $25-$30 worth of phone calls a month, what is the incentive to sign up for an extra $1000 of calls a month that will just be wasted?

How about a pricing structure based upon the data usage rather than the talk time? For example:

Price per month Included voice and TXT Included data
$50 $200 1Gb
$70 $300 2Gb
$100 $400 2Gb
$150 $600 5Gb

Isn’t this tailoring the plan to suit the device, rather than just regurgitating the same pricing structure that their previous business models have been based on?  As much as I would love an iPhone, I won’t be lining up tomorrow morning.  I’m going to hold off a little and (hopefully) after the initial hype has died down the carriers will begin to offer some more reasonable plans.

Update 10th July 2008: I added in the prices for their 3G mobile internet plans for extra comparison on how poor their data plans really are.

Update 12th July 2008: Added Telstra pricing






11 responses to “Australian iPhone data plans”

  1. Nice post Paul. It’s for the same reasons that I won’t be lining up for an iPhone any time soon…

  2. Alex Manchester

    Nobody seems to mention that there’s handset repayments on all but the most expensive plans unless you pay up front too. That puts the monthly cost at well over $100 if you want to use data.

    It’s worth remembering that the first, not so “affordable” iPhone ended sales at US$400. I can’t for the life of me figure out why the phone is now “worth” over $800 on its own when cheaper materials and components are in use.

  3. […] iPhone plans Paul Hagon has written a summary of pricing for the iPhone in Australia. I’ve taken the data, noted information from Telstra, Optus and […]

  4. Thanks for this Paulie, I won’t bother posting about it now as mine would not have been as comprehensive! I’ll link to this from my blog instead.

  5. Darlene

    This is a great summary Paul. I think mobile phone plans are a bit like pay television and a host of other entertainment areas – it’s all about the provider and they forget the consumer in the equation. The more vocal we are about the reasons for not taking up these sensationally hyped offers the sooner they get the message … well, perhaps.

  6. We will get a co-op alternative to the Australian telephone companies up and running if 10,000 people join:

    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.

  7. Other considerations include how often and how much you download from the internet. Those who like to download regularly may find landline broadband a cheaper option until mobile broadband downloading prices fall.

  8. there have been a few factors holding it back, mainly cost and download speeds. Technological improvements however, have meant that mobile broadband is now a viable and cost efficient option.

  9. Glen

    What about Virgin mobile plans ? Im with them and for $100 a month i get $550 worth of calls and 5gig of data ….

    As Virgin is actually Optus so the coverage is fairly poor is some areas…

  10. Paul Hagon

    @Glen, these prices and plans are from the initial launch of the iPhone last year and are all out of date. New carriers have entered the market and you’ll get better deals with any carrier now than what you would have 12 months ago.