iPhone pricing: Choosing the best Optus plan

iPhone3G.jpgOptus is the first Australian iPhone vendor to reveal its full range of iPhone prices, ahead of the launch on July 11. We’ve analysed the plans to work out which options offer the best deals for typical users. (We’ll repeat this exercise for the other carriers as their full details get released.) Click after the jump to pick the right plan for you if Optus is your chosen carrier.

One appealing feature across all Optus’ contract and prepaid plans is that mobile data downloads are unlimited for the first month of use for customers who sign up before the end of August. Even after that date, prepaid customers get a similar deal with 1GB of free data to use in the first 30 days. If you use that first month to get everything set up, hopefully you won’t suffer bad withdrawal symptoms subsequently. WiFi access is free at Optus’ WiFi hotspots, which are reasonably extensive in capital cities but not as widespread as Telstra’s.
Prepaid options. For $729, you can get an 8GB iPhone and choose from any of Optus’ existing prepaid plans; the 16GB model is $849. The cheapest plan is $30 a month but includes no data; $40 includes 50MB; $50 includes 500MB; $70 includes 700MB; $100 includes 1GB. $400 credit is included. ?Unlocking the phone from the Optus network costs $80.
Contract options. For $79 a month over 24 months ($1896 minimum), you can get an 8GB iPhone for no upfront cost. The plan includes 700MB of mobile data — a generous but not massive amount. Cheaper monthly plans are available, but include lower mobile data packages and require phone repayments. The cheapest is $19 a month for services and $21 a month for the 8GB model, but only includes 100MB of mobile data. If you want the 16GB iPhone for free, you’ll need at least an $89 plan.
The data prices go up rapidly after the $79 plan. The $89 plan includes 850MB of data, but to get to 1GB you’ll need to pay a whopping $149 — a major disincentive for heavy data users.
The bottom line? Without prices from other carriers, it’s hard to do direct comparisons yet. The data prices on offer aren’t the cheapest on the market by any means — 3G broadband can be had for much less than this — but are pretty good with an included iPhone, though the lack of 1GB+ data options is a concern for active users. The free downloads until August are generous, but given that the first batch of phones are already sold out, if you’re not on the list you may not get the chance to take advantage. On the whole, paying upfront and signing up for he $100 plan seems like a reasonable deal that’s easy to quit if something better comes along.
Which plans do you like the look of the most? Let us know in the comments.


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