We’ve emphasised data allowances because if you’re using an Android phone, you’ll certainly want to make use of the browsing and apps features. That’s not to say the call costs aren’t also important, but those are much more subject to individual factors when making a purchase decision (such as which networks people you call frequently use), so we haven’t listed every last detail.
If you have a particular phone in mind, that may well determine which carrier you go with — you can’t currently get a Legend without signing up with Telstra, for example, or an X10 Mini from anyone other than Optus. If you do have a choice, then make sure you pick a carrier that actually works in the areas where you’ll regularly use the phone.
While choosing your phone remains an individual decision, there are a couple of obvious details to note. Telstra’s data allowances are stingy; 500MB is not a lot given the capabilities of a typical Android device (and the speed of Telstra’s Next G network), nor is the $10 browsing allowance on most basic plans. Optus has much better data deals, and offers unlimited access to Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and MySpace on its plans. Vodafone is the only carrier with 12-month (for the Legend) and ‘unlimited’ contracts, but its cheapest plans don’t make much sense given the high monthly handset charges.
Finally, if you want to dig into the carrier sites for more information, here’s their deep-drilling-as-possible links:
Angus has been writing professionally about technology since 1994 and breaking it for even longer. He is based in Sydney but spends a frankly unhealthy portion of his life on the road, tracking down the latest stories. In 2011, he won the IT Journo Award For Best Consumer Technology Journalist and Consensus IT Writers Award for Best Technical Writer for his work on Lifehacker; about time too.