Vodafone offers standalone pricing on new iPhone

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Vodafone offers standalone pricing on new iPhone

Free tethering but data more expensive than Optus.

Vodafone Australia has confirmed customers will be able to buy an iPhone 3G S without signing up to plans.

The carrier has also responded to controversy over competitor plans to charge users an additional fee for using the iPhone as a modem - offering tethering free of charge.

From Friday, customers will be able to buy the 32GB iPhone 3G S from Vodafone for $1129 up front, the 16GB model for $929 and the 8GB model for $759.

Optus has indicated it will also offer standalone pricing, but not for several weeks after the devices go on sale.

Vodafone said its customers "will not be charged a monthly access fee to tether their iPhone 3G S," enabling the iPhone to act as a 3G modem for a user's laptop computer.

That said, Vodafone customers will still pay a premium for tethering when it comes to the additional data blocks available to use it.

Where Optus charges $19.99 per month for an extra 1GB of data, Vodafone charges $24.95. Where Optus charges $24.99 for 2GB, Vodafone charges $29.95. And these data blocks are only available as of August - leaving Vodafone iPhone users in the wilderness for a month, tempted to use tethering but potentially lacking the data allowance to use it effectively.

Optus also offers a 6GB tethering data allowance for $44.95 - which would prove far more attractive to those iPhone 3G S users wishing to replace their laptop dongle altogether.

In terms of plans, Vodafone's 24-month plan for the 32GB model is $114, which like Optus' $99 Timeless offer includes unlimited calls and SMS within Australia. Vodafone's plan offers 2GB of data as opposed to the 1.5GB available with Optus.

Vodafone also offers the iPhone 3G S free as part of its $69 phone cap for a 24 month contract, with 1GB of data included.

The newly-merged VHA will also offer the iPhone 3G S under the '3' brand, but pricing and availability is yet to be confirmed.

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