Following Optus, Vodafone is the second Australian telco to officially disclose its iPhone pricing plans, albeit less than 24 hours before the phones go on sale. Frankly, there's nothing at all appealing in Vodafone's pricing scheme, but they do have one useful possible option for queue-jumping: buying online. Click after the jump for our analysis of Vodafone's offer.
Unlike Optus and Telstra, Vodafone doesn't have a national Wi-Fi
network, so you'll be paying for data every time you leave the house
(although you might be able to exploit special offers from unaligned
Wi-Fi providers like Tomizone).
Vodafone is letting people order online, but that offer is initially
only open to people who pre-registered with the carrier and have been
sent their own registration code. At least that should save on queuing.
For everyone else, hassling your local store will be the only option.
Vodafone's plans are all based on a 24-month contract, with the phone either paid for upfront or via extra monthly payments. The $69 plan includes a claimed $310 in calls and text plus 250MB of data; upfront cost for the 8GB phone is $189, or around $8 per month; the 16GB model is $309 upfront, or $16 per month. The $99 plan includes a claimed $600 plus 500MB of data; upfront cost for the 8GB phone is $99, or $4 per month; the 16GB model is $219 upfront, or $9 per month. The $119 plan includes a claimed $800 but the same 500MB of data; upfront cost for the 8GB phone is $59, or around $2.50 per month; the 16GB model is $179 upfront, or around $7.50 per month. The top-ranked $169 plan includes a claimed $1200 plus 1GB of data; the 8GB phone can be had for free, , while the 16GB model is $89 upfront, or around $4 per month.
Don't get too excited by the numbers, though, because none of those plans compare at all well to Optus' more extensive offerings. The cheapest plan offers less data than the Optus equivalent, and the only way to score a free phone is to commit to the highest-priced plans. Vodafone hasn't yet quoted an unlock price, but will charge half the stand fee per month remaining on your contract if you exit early. And as there's no 12-month plans, that could prove rather expensive.
If you know Vodafone's the best signal offer in your area, or you want the global roaming options, this might make sense, but for everyone else, this is a particularly pricey way of getting an iPhone. The lack of a decent price for a 1GB+ option from anyone suggests that the predicted impact of iPhone on data usage in Australia is going to be some time in coming (let's not kid ourselves that Telstra will help in that regard).