Optus' iPhone pricing for the 3GS isn't massively different -- but the company is already backing away from its rort-tastic $9.99 tethering charge.
At a press briefing this morning, Optus announced that customers who purchase one of its Mobile Internet Packs will have the controversial charge waived as part of a "promotion". In practice, that means that if you sign up for its $99 Timeless plan (which already includes a Mobile Internet Pack) or a more expensive Timeless deal on a 24-month plan, you won't have to pay any tethering charges. Optus officials say that promotion will be in place for at least three months, and also covers existing Timeless customers.
The total cost of the phone on that 24-month $99 plan will be $2376. Optus is also continuing to offer the phone on cheaper plans (ranging from $19 to $79 a month), but those won't allow tethering without paying the extra charge. Optus is also now including unlimited free texts and MMS messages in its Timeless plans for iPhone users (the same applies to the $59 and $79 yes plans).
Optus consumer manager Mike Smith said that the tethering charge was designed to minimise the impact on Optus' often-flaky network. "In some respects, the tethering charge is about ensuring we have a quality network going forward," Smith said. "We need to make sure that the network stays good through that process."
Smith also confirmed that Optus will be looking to stamp out tethering workarounds. "We're aware of it. Apple's position is they will work with us to find a way to make sure that those things which aren't approved software are fixed."