Planhacker: Australian Android Postpaid Deals Q1 2011

There are a lot of new Android phones in town these days, so the time is ripe for Planhacker to round up all the current postpaid contract deals on offer in Australia. We’ve got every phone from every major carrier covered.

The Android market evolves so quickly that no matter when we decide to do a round-up, there will be people who are thinking “I don’t want a contract phone yet — there’s so much goodness just coming around the corner!” That’s a valid viewpoint, but it’s also worth remembering that phones often take a long time to appear in the local market on postpaid deals. If you want the newest handset, buying a standalone phone (and possibly going offshore to do so) remains your best bet.

It’s actually been quite a while since we covered Android phones in Planhacker (though we have looked at Android tablets more recently). The table below outlines each of the Android models offered on contract for non-business buyers by Australian carriers, covering how much the phone will cost you over the life of the contract. Contracts are almost invariably 24 months (Vodafone does offer 12 month deals, but the handset charges are, unsurprisingly, higher).

We haven’t factored in bundling discounts or other special deals (such as online only bargains or ‘free months). We’ve broken out handset charges as a separate item to make it easier to compare costs (note that Telstra doesn’t apply any handset charges on its contracts).

For each carrier, we’ve listed the models available, which version of Android those phones run (an area where there’s still lots of variation and not enough phones on newer versions), the contract length, the included data allowance, and the amount of phone credit offered on each plan. See the table below, or access it in PDF format here.

We’ve emphasised data allowances because if you’re using an Android phone, you’ll certainly want to make use of browsing and apps just as much as calling, if not more. 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 what kind of calls you make). Both Optus and Vodafone offer free unlimited access to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare and MySpace.

If you have a particular phone in mind, that may well determine which carrier you go with, as many models are exclusive to a single company. 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. In particular, Telstra’s lack of handset charges means you should go for the newest, fanciest phone you can unless there’s a really compelling region to choose an older model. Vodafone has a lot of variation in which caps apply to which phone (there’s no 12-month contracts on the Milestone II, for example).

If you want to check more details on a specific plan, hit the links below:

Know a good Android postpaid deal that we’ve not included? Spotted a mistake? (We never claim to be perfect.) Tell us in the comments.

Lifehacker’s weekly Planhacker column rounds up the best communication deals.

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