As last telco off the rank to release its full iPhone pricing, you'd think Telstra might have had a few surprises up its sleeve. Unfortunately, it's no surprise that its deals turn out to be the worst value of the lot, reflecting its commitment to charging a premium for access to its Next G network. Click after the jump for our analysis of the available Telstra options.
Telstra didn't officially launch full plan details until Friday
morning, but leaked plans turned out to be pretty much on the money.
While Telstra offers free data access in its Wi-Fi hotspot network,
which is the most extensive in Australia, there's a trade-off: its
plans essentially almost no browsing at all. Instead, Telstra
encourages users to purchase browsing packs for data access. These
range from $5 a month for 5MB of downloads (with extra downloads at
$1.00/MB) through to $119MB a month for 3GB (with extra downloads
charged at $0.25MB). Note that this is in addition to the 24-month call
plan you'll have to sign up for regardless of what options you select.
If you don't purchase a browsing pack and just want access the network
casually, data rates are a whopping $2 per megabyte.
Hardware and voice prices are more in line with what Telstra's rival carriers are charging. Its cheapest plan is $30 a month, though this only includes $25 in calls charged at high rates and requires you to pay $279 up front for the 8GB phone. To score the iPhone for no up-front charge, you'll need to commit to the $80 plan for the 8GB model, or a $100+ plan for the 16GB. If you're a heavy talker or texter, Telstra plans range right up to $350 a month. No prices for unlocking phones have been announced.
Telstra arguably deserves some credit for being the only carrier to offer a plan with more than 1GB of downloads. However, at $119 (plus whatever your monthly call plan is), this is still massively expensive, especially when compared to non-iPhone wireless broadband packages like Vodafone's $39/5Gb plan. Add in the priciest voice plan and you could easily spend $500 a month.
The bottom line? If you're in an area where NextG is the only realistic network option, then you might be stuck with paying these prices. But for anyone with a choice (think most metropolitan areas), there are much better deals to be had from Vodafone and Optus — especially if you intend to use the data services on the iPhone. (And really, if you don't, what are you spending all that money for?)