No best bets for the Aussie iPhone

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No best bets for the Aussie iPhone

In its new report, research company IDC warns Australian consumers that no iPhone pricing plan is superior to another.

Despite the fact that iPhone customers can purchase a pre-paid phone for $729 or $816, IDC says the overall pricing in Australia provides little value and leaves the possibility of huge excess usage charges.

After breaking down and examining the pricing options of Optus, Telstra, and Vodafone, IDC found that there are drawbacks to all three carriers’ offerings.

"Optus, the first to announce full details of its iPhone 3G plans, has the widest selection of options, provides the most flexibility and arguably the best overall value for users," said Mark Novosel, Market Analyst,
Telecommunications at IDC.

While Novosel said Optus has perhaps the best pricing structures, it does not provide the same level of network coverage as Telstra. However, Telstra’s plans leave a lot of room for excess data charges.

"Telstra competes based on coverage, not price. Therefore, expecting the company to offer large amounts of included value or data in its plans would have been unreasonable,” said Novosel.

“However, Telstra's entry-level $30 plan which provides a trivial 5MB of data per month - which can be consumed in less than one minute, downloading a single song, leaves consumers with excess usage charges of $1/MB," said Novosel.

Novosel said that in Vodafone’s case, going against its recent trends of slashing data prices has resulted in its capped plans being much more costly and less valuable than those of Optus.

For example, Vodafone’s entry-level $69 cap plan provides 250 MB worth of data and ends up costing the customer $81.88 a month with the handset repayments.

A similar $59 cap plan with Optus provides twice the amount of data and cost the customers about $66 a month.

Novosel believes that allowing 3 Mobile to carry the iPhone would gives customers much needed relief from the pricy plans and poor values.

“It is a shame for Australians that 3 does not offer the iPhone 3G,” said Novosel.

“The company has consistently lead the way with increased value plans and lower cost mobile services. 3 Hong Kong offers the best value iPhone plans in the Asia/Pacific, and given the opportunity, 3 Australia would no doubt offer market leading value through compelling plans."

IDC also said that Apple needs to relax restrictions on the iPhone that prohibit it from utilising features that other converged device normally include, like Bluetooth transfers, mass USB storage, and use on multiple networks.

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