Ask LH: What's The Cheapest Way To Buy An iPhone On Telstra?

Hi Lifehacker, I want to change back from an Android to an iPhone 6. I am a Telstra fan and have no intention of going with another network. I am also a fan of finding the best possible price or deal. Is there anywhere that offers Telstra iPhone plans with any kind of discount or added incentive? Thanks, Savvy Consumer

Photo by Janitors

Dear SC,

The bad news is that there’s really no "cheap" way to buy an iPhone 6, because whichever way you look at it, it’s a premium priced phone. You can argue the value proposition all you like — and I’ve no doubt that having raised it somebody in the comments will do exactly that — but you’re on the hook for a reasonable amount of cash whichever way you look at it.

There are some options that could save you money depending on both your usage patterns and how much time and bother you’re willing to go to in order to save money. First of all, let’s look at Telstra’s iPhone 6 plans, current at the time of writing. I’ve opted for the mid-range 64GB iPhone 6, because the 16GB model isn’t spectacularly good value, and for the price difference on contract this is notably stark.

Telstra’s cheapest contract for consumers is the $90/month "S" plan, which gives you $550 "worth" of talk and text, along with 500MB of data usage, for a minimum two year spend of $2160. Moving up to the "M" plan you get $700 "worth" of calls, unlimited texts and 1.5GB of data usage for $99/month and a minimum spend of $2376 over two years. The "L" plan costs $104/month with $950 "worth" of calls, unlimited texts and 2.5GB of data for a minimum $2496 outlay, and finally the "XL" plan runs to $132/month with unlimited talk and text and 3GB of data for a minimum two year price of $3168.

What’s the alternative? Buy a handset outright and go prepaid with Telstra or one of its resellers. There’s a slight catch there, because Apple recently jacked up the local price for outright iPhone 6 sales, most likely due to the falling Australian dollar, although Apple won’t talk on this particular point. Currently, an 64GB iPhone 6 will cost you $1149 outright, plus your prepaid costs.

We’ve run through the cheapest and best deals for each carrier here and in Telstra’s case that’s rather strongly the $50 Beyond Talk prepaid deal, although it does involve a little setup. Over two years you'd spend $2349 with Telstra on Beyond Talk that way, marginally cheaper than the M plan but with more data to use and the flexibility to shift away or sell the iPhone 6 should a new model entice you.

If Telstra is your network of choice, it’s also feasible to use its budget brand Boost to provide your talk and data provisioning, although there’s no deal that quite matches the Beyond Talk option with Boost. Aldi Mobile also resell Telstra capacity at a budget price point, but as with Boost, you’d be looking at 3G data with a constrained coverage map if you went down that path. Cheers Lifehacker

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    Also you can go to another carrier to buy an iphone out right and unlocked to the network Telstra is the only carrier that locks iphones

      They only lock the prepaid 5c. All others are unlocked.

    Or buy the hardware and jump on a no contract postpaid plan. There's no reason to pay ridiculous prepaid rates.

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