Will the iPhone cause a data boom?

Will the iPhone cause a data boom?

iPhone3G.jpgPeople clearly want their iPhones. I was in a suburban Vodafone store yesterday and a woman pushed a pram into the store (no mean feat) and asked: “Do you have a price for the iPhone yet?” When the sales assistant said “no”, she replied: “Oh well, I’m just going to keep coming in here every day until you do.” Maybe she wants one to show off at mothers’ group.
But how badly would she want the Internet access features? It’s widely assumed that the iPhone will lead to a boom in Australians actually accessing data online, an area where we’ve been relative laggards. Figures out from Telsyte yesterday suggest that while there are currently just 1.5 million users of 3G mobile broadband , this number will jump to more than 3 million by 2012. It seems safe to assume that quite a few of those will be iPhones. Just how much we use them will depend on how much they cost, of course, an area where we’re still sadly all in the dark, despite endless rumours.
Is data the big selling point for the iPhone for you, or is it more the overall aura of Jobs-type cool? Let us know in the comments.


  • I don’t particularly want an iPhone, but I am looking forward to see what impact it has on mobile data plans in Australia. The amount we’re charged at the moment is ridiculous, especially when I keep seeing unlimited plans being offered overseas.

    Hell, we don’t even have unlimited plans for our home broadband yet, so I’m not going to hold my breath.

  • I want an iPhone – but I’m unsure if I want it for the features or the cool factor – probably both.

    My issue is the price that mobile telco’s put on data… the iphone boasts a big storage unit – a minimum of 8GB, which is twice that of my eeepc. this would make surfing the net like you do at home a reality – however, my current contract with 3 has me paying $5 a month for 10MB of data and charge an obcene amount per MB if i go over it. If i was to use my phone for proper internet surfing (youtubing, newgroundsing etc) how far will 10MB get me? three youtube videos? It’s a joke. And the 2GB plans for $30 a month using the 3g network – also a joke.

    Until the service companies pull their finger out and actually provide a good deal in regards to Data downloads having an iPhone would be like having a water gun in the middle of the desert – it mat look cool, but really does nothing.

    Why doesn’t optus give me free wireless 3g internet connectivity (either through a dongle or through a phone) that links up directly to be cable internet data allowance?

    And don’t get me started on the fact we actually have a data alowance here…

    I am now done with my digression.

    I want an iPhone, I will probably own an iPhone – but I wont be happy until I can use it as it’s intended without OTT charges and limits imposed on my online experience.

  • iPhone data usage goes through the roof because it’s so darn easy to use. I’ve tried to use the maps function on my current 3G mobile phone and I was really better off just wandering the streets randomly than trying to look up it and decipher the pathetically small map provided.

    I used to think “Why the hell would I need a 24/7 connection to the internet?” but I’m coming across more and more instances where it would be handy. I’m only being held back by my crappy phone.

  • I’m wondering what makes you think that a mother would have no use for the internet access features on an iPhone. Is there some reason that a woman with a baby sitting in a cafe waiting for a friend (who may also have a baby) can’t check her email while she’s watiting? She might even be one of those wonderful women who is holding down a job and raising children at the same time – so she’d have work emails to keep track of as well. She might want to read the paper, check tomorrow’s weather on the BOM website, find out what time the movie sessions are, or access her family’s website to show her friend her latest family photos. She might even work in IT, so she has plenty of blogs to keep up with, as well as catching up on the Google News.

    A mother, and especially a working mother, needs to fit all these things in around caring for her children. What better tool to help her do that than an iPhone?

  • I’m one of the people hanging out for an iPhone and I have to say the ease of which data is accessible on the iPhone is a big part of the attractiveness of the package. As a web developer works with small and large businesses, I do a fair bit of travelling and commuting and while I can currently access the web with my Windows PDA phone it is clunky, slow and painful (in part because I don’t yet use the 3G network), so I avoid it for the most part. Also having converted to using a Mac 3 years ago the iPhone will be much more compatible with it.

  • Well, I’d personally say “one with a keypad”. But you’re right, the consumer appeal is one of the things that separates the iPhone from, say, the BlackBerry — which explains the pram-crammed store.

  • Let’s hope some of the official providers do it better than Virgin Mobile. They cut off mobile IMAP email access five days ago (hopefully it was a mistake) and will not admit that the problem lies within their network.

    Data is moving from “we can sell this to you, but no guarantees it will work”, to “this needs to be at least as good as your voice service”

  • Telstra own 3G right now so of course it’s expensive. Once Optus joins the scene prices will drop drastically. Just don’t hold your breath because you’ll be waiting a long time if you want it outside Melbourne.

    Also – if an SMS costs 20c and you haven’t rioted over that of course they’re gonna stiff you. I’m in IT but my mobile is just for calls. My iPod is just for music and for now that’s how it’ll stay.

  • The data is one reason why I’m hanging out for the iPhone. The other is the all-in-one aspect – phone, iPod, data all in one device would make my life simpler.

  • Worldwide pricing for mobile 3G is a rip-off… and will be for a few more years to come. Some providers when they purchased licenses in the 3G spectrum paid way too much and are recouping their expenses through the consumer.

    Flashback to say 1996/97. Remember when you paid by the hour for 56k internet access. It was another few years before broadband etc. So don’t hold your breath about 3G charges. we’ll be onto 4G networks before pricing is something like you get with an ADSL/Cable connection at home, where you worry less about how many MB you use. It won’t be till 2011 or something like that.

    Also wait for the dust to settle a little before locking into a plan with the first data plans on iPhone 3G in Australia. For instance I get 1GB of data on 3 through my Nokia N73 for $30 (0.03 cents a MB) where as Telstra I would pay around $89 for the same thing (0.089 cents a MB). 3 times more for the same thing (in a metro area of australia). Shop around people!

  • I’m with 3, and I have been using 3G mobile broadband for years now. I’m in IT and it has saved my bacon quite a few times (being able to use my mobile as a modem for my lappy to be able to connect to my work network is great).

    I currently own a Nokia N95 (HSDPA is fantastic) and use it almost every day for reading blogs and news sites, I also frequently use the built-in GPS functionality of my mobile and have no problems using it – BUT I will be getting an iPhone once they are available.

    The only reason I didn’t import a first gen iPhone was because of the lack of 3G – I couldn’t believe Apple released a 2G mobile – what a waste, I thought. The large screen, excellent browser (I have an iPod Touch so I know how great these features are first hand) and now with the handy GPS, I think the iPhone is going to an excellent mobile phone.

  • “Why doesn’t optus give me free wireless 3g internet connectivity (either through a dongle or through a phone) that links up directly to be cable internet data allowance?”

    Well… there are two main reasons for this… The first is obvious – it costs more to supply a megabyte of wireless data through the mobile network than a megabyte of data through a fixed copper or fiber-optic line (but it’s something like 10c vs. 2c probably – I’m not saying aussies don’t get stiffed), and the second reason would be logistical; Optus is still currently in the process of migrating its millions of fixed phone, fixed internet, cable tv, wireless voice and wireless data accounts all to a single system, a process which has been ongoing for upwards of 6-8 months now (the main delays are legal- and customer-service-related ones, preservation of legacy contracts and rate plans etc). At the moment your Optus fixed-line account could be in a couple of different systems, and your mobile (personal or small business) account could be in any one of three systems, and that’s before you even get to corporate accounts or services older than about 10 years.

    The only easily visible sign of this progress is if you have an optus mobile account and have changed from a blue bill to a yellow bill – the good news so far is that after your second yellow bill you have access to things like usage alerts during the month on any of the current plans, and certainly once that migration process is complete (I suspect they’re about 80-90% through) there will be other benefits announced then.

    I’m not sure what you’re saying about Telstra ‘owning’ 3G at the moment, Tim, but Optus’ wireless broadband coverage can be checked through www2.optus.com.au – with reported coverage for areas that are due to be upgraded within the next 3 months. That site can be a bit flaky though, it’s not designed for public use but you can give it a try.

    Gotta agree with Tim on the SMS part though – I can’t recall the exact figures but it costs something like 0.1-1c for carrying a text message within the network and about 0.5-2c for one to a different national network. Out of the 3 or 4 people I had in this week who had gone over their cap amount, the bulk of the charges were for texting, and it’s ridiculous having to pay $100+ in a month for what cost the provider less than $8.

    Back to data plans though… I tried to post this earlier but didn’t make it past the filters due to included links, but I’ll repost here:

    The data pricing has changed dramatically over the past 6-8 months and I expect it will continue to do so; it is probably also worth getting your hands on an ABN (in some cases, this is possible through an authorization letter from work or partner if you don’t hold your own) since business data plans have already been revamped even if they aren’t being publicly advertised yet. Old biz data pricing (available from smb[dot]optus[dot]com[dot]au/web/ocaportal.portal?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=Template_woRHS&FP=/smallbusiness/mobile/3gmobile&site=smallbusiness) is $5=5MB, $15=30MB, $25=50MB, $35=75MB. This was last changed around 8-9 months ago I believe.
    In contrast, the new pricing is based off the current Optus Wireless Broadband pricing, available here: smb[dot]optus[dot]com[dot]au/web/ocaportal.portal?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=Template_wRHS&FP=/smallbusiness/internet/wireless&site=smallbusiness
    which is MUCH nicer, with 1GB/2GB/6GB at $20/$35/$50 respectively. 🙂

    Legal crapola: I work in an optus shop, but I don’t speak for optus; if you take any of my advice or go to the website above it’s your fault if your cat explodes or you get abducted by little pink marshmallow alien wombatpeople, yadda yadda yadd, purple monkey dishwasher.

    P.S: I still reckon the HTC Diamond or later releases by HTC will surpass the iPhone 3G, but I guess we’ll see. 😉

    – Matthew

  • Apparently the iPhone will not work with Optus’ regional “3g” network, and that makes the iPhone very unnattractive to me, as i do not ever want to be put in a position where i only have Telstra to choose from…

    I think that before people start demanding a phone which pulls data at broadband speeds, we need a regional wireless broadband provider that doesn’t make it completely unnafordable to use!

  • Wow. You’d think the iPhone was the first phone to be data ready. I was lucky enough to get 1GB for $10 with Virgin when they introduced their data plans,(now $10 for 300MB), which I think is reasonable. I also use it as a modem when away for work (even though they say you cant). Add to that free text/calls to others on Virgin and its hard to beat. I’ll also stick with the Nokia N95 8GB that I have because the iPhone just cant keep up with it. There is a reason that Nokia is the leader and you can bet they will wipe the floor with iPhone in the not too distant future. By that I mean they already do with a number of higher end phones but you can expect even the cheap phones they make will be as good or better.

  • I have an iphone already and am using it. Guess what Telstruck charge me for data whenever I access my own internode home wifi network. Yes I am connecting to my home wifi network not to Telstra’s data network and the good people at Telstruck charge me for this privelege. I cannot get access to any internet data outside of my own wifi network and yet Telstruck charges me for this – you figure it out. Wait until everyone gets internet access for real how much will it cost then. Someone put it as dearest data plan on the planet.

  • Bohdan… local connection technologies such as bluetooth or wifi (through a WLAN) do not utilise the mobile network at all, so there is no way of your provider even KNOWING you are accessing such data, let alone charging you for it.

    The easiest way to see this is by starting your phone without a sim card or, if your phone requires one to boot up, put in a non-activated prepaid card (should be able to get one for less than $10) and you will be able to see that it still connects through the Wifi even though there is no active mobile network connection.

    I’m not saying you’re not being charged, but whatever it IS for, it’s not for local, privately-owned WLAN access. O.o

    Good luck getting it nutted out.

    – Matthew

  • My HTC TyTN II is just fantastic using HSDPA … ecept that checking my email via IMAP threw on an extra $350 bucks for the month before i disabled it.
    I am waiting with bated breath to see if the networks change data pricing. It remains to be seen whether the networks will count on iPphone users getting it and using the data before realising the true cost or will they change the pricing first? methinks the cash grab will be too much to resist

    if the iPhone release does cause change in data pricing, at least that’ll be one function it does well…

  • what a pointless article. the iphone has already caused a data boom, just not in this part of the world. the evidence is in – 98% of iphone users surfed the mobile web according to mr jobs. unless they mess this version up this will translate in australia, regardless of high data prices.

  • I want an 3G iPhone, although the TyTN II rocks and does everything I need it just like the iPhone will. The iPhone will do it much more smoothly and integrated so to speak.

    I’ve installed various other ROMs & software to get my phone to where it is now and is completely useful. I would have got an iPhone import if it didn’t lack 3G.

    I want the iPhone to store all my photos (7GB atm in native 5-10MP mode, downsized this should be halfed at least). I want all my music on my phone. I don’t want to carry around three devices – I want one that fits snugly in my pocket. Although the camera isn’t as sweet as a Sony Ericsson it should do the job, the TyTN II’s phone is crap.

    As far as I can see, the 3G iPhone is best phone available (from Jully 11) until the Android phones start landing. There is someone in NZ working on getting the Android OS working on the TyTN II, which is interesting and he has made great progress…

    I’m on an old plan of $149 = $1000 cap, includes everything (provider doesn’t do video calls yet). My usage has moved from heavy phone usage (use skype more now) to excessive data usage. At $0.02 / KB I get enough data for now. I’d like 100MB but that’s ok, just use Google Maps less 😛

    I’m looking to get an 3G iPhone in the 4th quarter.

  • What’s with the hype regarding an ~US$200 price tag? I’m not a mobile fanatic and don’t follow all the new models, but the way I took the hype it sounded like you could buy the phone for around $200. Just reading what Americans pay for current iPhone plans it’s obvious that’s not going to be the case and you’ll have to be signed into some whopping 2 year plan. Well stuff that…Steve may as well have said the phone will cost 2 goats and 100 hours community work; that’s just as accurate a costing.
    I’ll be getting my deposit back & sticking to surfing the net on a pc.
    Signed: Ignorant & dissapointed.

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