Planhacker: Who Has The Best Galaxy Nexus Deal?

The hugely anticipated Samsung Galaxy Nexus — the first Android phone to officially run the awesome new Ice Cream Sandwich build — officially makes its appearance in Australia this week. Of the three local carriers, who has the best deal if you want to buy on a contract? Planhacker runs through the numbers for Optus, Telstra and Vodafone.

Of course, you don't have to buy the Galaxy Nexus on contract: plenty of grey market importers (including Mobicity, Kogan and Expansys) are already selling the handset outright. But if you're happy to sign up for a 24-month contract to save on up-front costs, Optus, Telstra and Vodafone are offering pre-orders ahead of the official launch tomorrow. Telstra is claiming bragging rights by selling the phone from its Sydney and Melbourne CBD stores as of that day, while most other outlets will ship from the end of the week. But what will you pay?

More: •Google Galaxy Nexus: Giz Goes Hands OnGoogle Galaxy Nexus: Second Thoughts

In the table below, we've outlined the per-month plan charge and handset charge on contract plans from each carrier; the total cost over the life of the contract; and the basic details of each plan: what credit value they include for calls and text, whether texts are unlimited, and how much data they include. Comparing included "value" for plans across carriers is fiddly, as they charge in different ways; comparing "unlimited" options is more straightforward. (Telstra also quotes different prices for its Freedom Connect plans depending on whether you include a handset or not; we've broken those prices into the regular BYO plan cost plus the handset charge to make comparing with others either.)

Most contract plans are 24 months, but Vodafone also has 12-month plans, though these do have high handset charges. You can sort and filter the table by clicking on the column headers, so that you can (for instance) see plans in order of data allowance or total overall cost.

Obviously, network reception will be an important factor here: there's no point signing up for a carrier that doesn't offer decent service where you live. Telstra has the best reputation in this field, but also charges a premium and has less generous data options on its higher-priced plans. It's the only carrier to consistently charge a handset fee even on its top-tier plans.

Some options stick out as bad value. the $50 Vodafone Infinite plan on a 24-month contract costs nearly as much as the better-equipped $65 Infinite plan. The cheapest plans have very meagre data allowances, and there doesn't seem much point in owning a high-powered Android device if you don't want to use data features. So while you might be able to score a 12-month contract phone from Vodafone for $768, you won't get a lot of use out of it unless you plan to use Wi-Fi almost exclusively. Optus has the largest data inclusions for unlimited plans.

For details on each carrier's plans, hit the links below:

Tempted by the Galaxy Nexus? Prefer to buy outright? Tell us in the comments.

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


    With the Telstra ones, it doesn't make too much difference, but the lowest plan is actually $59 for the plan itself, and $10 for the phone. On the higher plans there is no extra charge for this phone; that's the amounts they charge for those plans with any phone you get through them.
    Although it's probably also correct that they still charge extra for these plans than if you were to get the same plan without a phone.
    (Hope that makes sense? :P)

      Hi Mitch, I've added a note to the text to clarify that point -- all the other providers just add a handset charge to a plan, so I've adjusted Telstra's pricing to match that model. Doesn't affect the total price either way, but makes it easier to work out what the difference between being BYO or not is.

        Although I see where you're coming from, I think you should change the plans that are $59 and above to show the actual price.

          Doing that makes the table inconsistent though -- all the other plans listed are available as either BYO or phone-included options, so I elected to make Telstra match. Ultimately it's the total cost, not the plan cost alone people should be most concerned with. Maybe I'll add a 'total monthly cost' column to make that ultra-clear.

    AWESOME :) I was about to jump on the grey market bandwagon

    Looks like I'll definitely be importing then, it'll be a lot cheaper in the long run.

      Or you could get the 12month bodaphone plan and get a phone for $768

    I can never see these Embedded Excel tables you use for these planhacker articles.. I wish you'd just use a formatted table or something to make it more accessible.

      What browser are you using? The big advantage of the embedded spreadsheet is it's sortable and filterable -- that wouldn't happen with a plain-text table.

        It's IE8 but it is probably being filtered by obnoxious policies on the company network..

          They work great for me. I like the sortable functions!

    Sorry to double post.. but I just had a question I'd like to get some opinion on. Just how much data allowance is considered average? I barely get through my 1.2GB/mth on my SGSII.. last month I think I got it up to about 550MB. I guess if you wanted to stream movies and TV to watch on the train you could use a lot more.. but yer.. I just don't know what people consider to be the average data allowance for mobile..

      i have a 20GB plan, but use only 200mb-500mb a month!

      the average figures per month for the company that i work for are as follows:

      smartphone: 50-300mb
      tablet: 500-800mb

    can you guys do this table for 4s please?

      We already have!

    The vodafone $59 and $79 caps include unlimited text too.Not that it really makes much of a difference.

      Thanks for pointing that out, have fixed the table.

    The Voda Infinite Plan is pretty awesome.. I have the $45 one and since I was an existing voda customer, I got 10% off making it $40.50.. that one came with 500MB data plus unlimited SMS to anywhere in Australia and to international mobiles, plus unlimited phone calls to all Australian landlines and mobiles excluding 1300/1800 numbers. Then I added on a 12 month $4/mth data package which added another 700MB and I was basically paying the same amount with more than twice the data allowance with free calls plus the handset payments all inclusive!

    How does Optus compare to Telstra in terms of voice and data coverage and speed?

    I know first hand Vodafone is shit, is Optus worth looking at?

    Given telstra usually sell handsets outright, any idea on what they are going to charge for that?

    Given that Telstra has $20 repayment across all plans. Is there any incentive to choose $99 over $49 plan?

    Does Telstra offer option to change the plan month to month so I can see how much I need and adjust?

      Effective repayment is $30 for the $99 plan.

      The incentive is the different amounts of call credit and data inclusions. There's no option to switch month to month (you can sometimes trade up but that might also impact contract duration).

    Good article, think i'll wait until Feb MWC and see if the Galaxy S III is offering (assuming it is announced the same time as Galaxy S and Galaxy S II).

    Nexus seems like fantastic software wise but hardware doesn't float my boat.

    Nexus will only be 2-3 months old if S3 doesn't turn out well (doubtful)

    Press-release ( ) and Galaxy Nexus page ( ) have different pricing?

    Eg for Freedom Connect $59 (M size) press-release suggests $10 but phone page suggests $20?

      Telstra makes its plan pricing very hard to follow. As the post explains, Telstra quotes plan prices differently when handsets are included as when they aren't -- so there's a built-in handset charge even before any additional fee for a specific phone gets added. For the table, we took the BYO price and then calculated what the ACTUAL handset charge is, which isn't the way Telstra presents it, but is more accurate and makes it easier to compare to other carriers.

    I've got 9 payments left on my Galaxy S. When it's paid off, my wife can have my phone and I'll get a Galaxy Nexus!

    Now, to wait for Google Wallet to work in Australia..

      According to Google, Wallet does work at PayPass terminals in Australia. The problem is that they aren't giving us the App to use it.

      I believe there's an XDA port available that will allow you to use the $10 starter credit but there's no way to recharge without an US credit card?

    Thanks for graph. It's really helped me make a decision on where to get the phone. I can't believe I'm going to stick with Vodaphone.

      Don't do it man! It wont be a life worth living.

      I agree with Drew. The reason I've been waiting to get it on Telstra is because having an awesome Android phone with amazing online capabilities is useless if you're out of coverage or have a terrible data connection. I made that mistake when I grey imported my Nexus One and signed onto a Crazy Johns (resells Vodafone) plan because it was cheap. Cheap for a reason just like Telstra most expensive for a reason.

    Does anyone know which network will be the fastest? I assume none of them are using the LTE version...

      Probably Telstra. Which is why they are more expensive.

    I don't want to be stuck on a 24 month plan, I don't want to spend the money outright to buy it, so I will take the Vodafone $29 plan for 12 months. Total cost of $768. Same cost as to buy it outright, just spread over 12 months. Then I will take an Amaysim or tpg sim pay as you go. Makes more sense to me.

      I'm not sure, but I think Vodafone will charge an unlocking fee if you want to use another mobile company...

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