Hey Lifehacker, Is there an easy way to check iPhone 6 availability by carrier? Thanks, Potential Phone Purchaser
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The short answer: not that we're aware of. Four carriers in Australia are selling the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus -- Optus, Telstra, Virgin Mobile and Vodafone -- and the only way to find out what they currently have is to work through their purchase screens.
When I did that this morning, the message was essentially the same from all carriers: you'll be waiting at least 2-3 weeks to buy an iPhone 6 on contract, and 6 weeks or longer for the iPhone 6 Plus. Optus isn't yet listing the iPhone 6 Plus on its site, Virgin Mobile says it is out of stock, Telstra lets you register interest for when new stock is available, and Vodafone is quoting the 6-week figure. Given stock availability, carriers are generally pushing contract purchases rather than outright buys.
So the message is clear: if you haven't already got your hands on an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus, you'll be waiting a little while. Note that if you order direct from Apple Australia, the company is quoting 3-4 weeks for delivery on both the 6 and the 6 Plus. Short of finding a random phone in a physical store, a delay seems inevitable.
Having said all that, if you are going to buy on contract, we'd firmly advise against making the immediate availability of stock the main criteria for your choice. This is a purchase you'll be living with for two years, so you need to be confident that the network you choose will operate well where you live and work, and that you're happy with the plan inclusions. Our Planhacker roundup of every iPhone 6 and 6 Plus plan can help you compare the features.
Buying an iPhone 6 outright and then going prepaid may well prove to be a cheaper choice, though that can depend which carrier you prefer. One big advantage of that approach? If you change jobs or move house, it's easy to change network if you need to. And since you'll be waiting for around a month no matter what choice you make, you have time to decide.
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