Dear Lifehacker, With the upcoming release of the Nexus 4, I was wondering if you could do a comparison of the best BYO mobile plans for the phone. I'm particularly interested in networks which offer DC-HSPA+, since the phone doesn't support 4G. Any advice? Thanks, Nexus Lust
Dear Nexus Lust,
The upcoming launch of the Nexus 4 has got Android fans excited, not least because of the fact that it is being supplied by Google directly through the Play store. Not only does that mean you're not tied to a contract, it also means that updates to Android should roll out more speedily than when carriers get involved in the process.
We have official prices in Australia ($349 for the 8GB model, $399 for the 16GB version), but not yet an official ordering page or delivery date. The US release is scheduled for November 13, and it's widely assumed we'll know more about local release plans then, but there hasn't been any word from Google. But that doesn't mean you can't start thinking about what might suit it.
We recently rounded up BYO contract cap plans for Planhacker, so hit that post if you want a detailed roundup of everything on the market right now. Every carrier has a range of plans under their own brand, and there are also plenty of MVNOs selling BYO plans on the Optus and Vodafone networks.
In terms of DC-HSPA+, the only provider offering it actively right now on a wide basis is Telstra. Vodafone is rolling out 3G+ (its label for DC-HSPA+) in select locations, but doesn't have the same breadth of coverage. Optus has basic HSPA, but has opted to refarm its existing 3G spectrum and push out 4G rather than going with the interim solution.
That said, I wouldn't get too hung up on the network labels. Performance will vary widely on all networks, and sometimes all you'll get is basic 3G no matter who you have signed up with. If you know a given network works well in your house, sticking with it can be wise.
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