Australia: The iPhone is Coming!

At this stage, we know that Telstra, Vodafone and Optus are going to be selling the iPhone from July 11. Optus sent an email to those of us who registered interest on their site, and provided links to the suggested pricing structure. It looks pretty good initially until you start considering what you are really getting. Call costs don’t seem to differ vastly from standard optus plans, but there are much larger data allowances. Then, you look at the T&C, and you find the following clause:

The โ€˜yesโ€™ iPhone Cap Plans also includes a specified amount of included data value per month to access services on Optus iZoo, as well as browsing the Internet from your mobile, depending upon which rate plan you choose. If you exceed your planโ€™s included monthly data allowance, excess usage charges will be charged at $0.35 per MB or part thereof. Any unused data allowance cannot be rolled over. Your data allowance does not include services such as Voice calls, Voice Mail, International SMS, premium and Third Party SMS, Optus iZoo and Third Party content and applications, 1300, 1900 and VPN data usage. If you are able to access such services, your use of such services will be charged at prevailing rates.

The first bolded section seems to suggest you can do whatever you want with it. The second bolded section is basically saying “dont bother trying to do Skype or other VoIP” and in fact dont bother doing anything outside Optus Zoo. IF you do, you are going to be hit with a massive charge.. 35c per Mb or part thereof. The potential here for Optus to make a killing and send people broke in very short order, is huge.

Since Optus Zoo is probably one of the most useless sites I have ever had the misfortune to access (alongside Vodafone Live and Virgin’s in-house effort) this is not really a massive inducement for me to switch from my current Telstra prepaid and Browseplus pack, with which, at least, I can do whatever I want.

So, basically, until or unless the apparent conflict is resolved, I will not be getting a 3G iPhone from Optus. I’ll make do with what I have already. I’ll also be recommending to friends not to get it either at this stage.

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8 thoughts on “Australia: The iPhone is Coming!

  1. I wonder what “Third Part Content” actually means. Does it mean I get charged when I read online media for example? If so then it really *is* a rip off!

    I spend a lot of time perusing media with my iMate and whilst I’ve not yet overrun the minimal 32Mb limit there is no reason I wouldn’t, especially when believing I had 700Mb available to play with (on the plan I was considering)!

    Until I read this I’d been considering moving to Optus specifically to access the offer, but I’ll have to be very clear about what the restrictions entail before I make a move in that direction.

  2. This is exactly the issue a lot of people are struggling with at the moment. If Third Party content means anything thats not Optus Zoo, then its more than a ripoff, its downright nasty, and I would not touch it with a ten foot bargepole.

    I think it would be a good idea to wait and see how it pans out for the early adopters. You can bet Whirlpool will be awash with complaints at the end of the month when the bills come in, if external data is charged for. Especially at 35c/mb

  3. I’ve been happy with a JasJam running Windows Mobile (Outlook sync). I’m tempted to look at an iPhone, but not so sure.

  4. Welsh Dog has a JasJam too. Its getting old. Look, it doesnt hurt to look at the iPhone but the thing to do is not to rush into it. I love my first gen iPhone and would buy a 3G one in a heartbeat if I had the cash to do so… but I don’t, and the reality for me is that I don’t need it. Its not long before I will be leaving Telstra as my needs are changing once again, so having 3G access will be a nonsense for me (in fact, my EDGE access is just fine for the minimal stuff I do… a bit of email, a bit of web and a bit of IM).

    That said, the iPhone is a very nice piece of kit, and I can highly recommend it for most people UNLESS you do MMS (forget it) video calling (forget it) or you like to copy and paste anything whilst on your mobile (forget it). If you want a phone which does other things and can entertain for hours… take a look. No rule says you have to buy one. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. You’re right about the iMate JasJam getting old. It ‘does the job’ but by today’s standards the interface and mechanics are starting to creak around the edges! Yet it *works* so I’m not yet quite desperate. ๐Ÿ™‚

    After a lot of reading round I decided to wait a few weeks and test out the HTC Diamond, but most of all to test out the new Samsung Omnia. The Omnia especially looks fantastic with features to *easily* rival the iPhone (e.g. 16Gb storage) but with additional features currently desperately lacking in the Apple offering.

    There’s a review at http://www.infosyncworld.com/news/n/9459.html if you’re interested.

    For me the appeal of the Samsung is the Radio, the 5Mp camera, the GPS, Div-X support… and the ability to support 16Gb mini-SD cards *as well as* the inbuilt 8/16Gb.

    From the published specs it really is approaching the ‘all-in-one’ mobile computer, PDA. phone concept we’re looking for. Of course as usual *price* is the all-consuming sticking point. As good as a device is, if it simply costs too much then no matter what it offers, it’ll just have to be put on the wish list.

    On the price, my fingers are crossed. Currently the Omnia appears to be exactly what I’m looking for right now.

  6. Yeah I have seen some of the Omnia stuff… and FYI GSMArena has a head to head comparison of the Diamond and the Omnia which might help you make a decision.
    http://www.gsmarena.com/htc_touch_diamond_vs_samsung_i900_omnia-review-262.php

    Features are all very well, but for me, features I never use are effectively useless. So I remain happy with my first gen iPhone. It makes calls, I can do SMS and IM, collect email, do a bit of web browsing and listen to my music and audiobooks. I don’t need it as a storage device so 16G whilst nice is not essential, and I have several decent cameras aside from my 2MP cam in the iPhone.

    Do I want a 5MP in a phone? I don’t know. So far no phone cam i have ever seen has been anywhere close to the iPhone in quality, and of course cannot touch a dedicated cam. As for GPS… well, it will be A-GPS which means your data plan is used for some of the satellite connections… nope, I’ll make do with a dedicated unit for that, too.

  7. No arguments from me that neither of the two machines mentioned are perfect… even on paper… there is so much room for improvement in both! However in comparison with the iPhone, the Omnia alone is streets ahead in terms of paper based specs. The major advantage the iPhone has, for Apple users at least, is the OS. The major disadvantage it has, apart from the specs is the reliance on iTunes. I want flexibility and choice.

    Besides, as shonky as Windows Mobile has been in the past (and it has been) the new incarnation has been getting much more positive reviews and with mobile equipment that can now handle the overheads it imposes. I’m yet to get hands on experience but… well, even when I bought it I wasn’t 100% convinced the JasJam would be the bees knees but to be fair it’s done it’s job and, all in all, has done it well so I can’t see the new OS being a retrograde step.

    The comparison site was interesting! I’ve seen a few in the past couple of weeks and all seem to agree the front running models still come down to a toss up between the Diamond and the Omnia, and whilst the Diamond is very good… most reviews suggest the Ominia still seems to be streets ahead *if* there aren’t any usability issues to contend with.

    For example, one issue might be the lack of stylus. Touch screen virtual keyboards are great *if* you like using them. I actually prefer to use a stylus, it gives me tactile feedback and is obviously writing with a ‘pen’ is very ‘traditional. I’m yet to discover if the Onmia fully supports character recognition (the Diamond comes with stylus so we assume it does). If it doesn’t that alone would be enough to slow down this horse as it races to the telco shop! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Another issue is the requirement for Omnia users to abandon the mini-usb port in favour of the proprietary connection… not good. Again this might be a deal smasher depending on the cost of replacements.

    Either way, I’m in no rush. I’d like a new machine but it isn’t ‘mission critical’ so I have time to paddle along checking out the brochures as I decided on a destination!

    By the way, I wouldn’t suggest for a second that a camera on a phone would be a full substitute for a dedicated SLR, but they are handy for ‘candid quickies’ at times when you don’t have a ‘real’ camera handy. Now if Samsung managed to squeeze a 10 x optical zoom into that tiny body it might be another issue altogether! ๐Ÿ˜€

  8. Update:
    A prerequisite for *using* a phone is to be able to find someone *selling* a phone so that one can *buy* a phone… and right now nobody seems to be selling the Samsung Omnia i900 except a few ‘independent importers’ and I think I’d be safer with one of the big boys.

    Of course… I keep checking the telco’s sites and they keep right on not announcing they have them!! Grrr….

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