As promised Australian carriers started accepting iPhone 5 pre-orders today. Most carriers have chosen to keep prices in line with iPhone 4S plans from last year though overall plans have become a bit more expensive across the board.
The iPhone 5 pre-orders will be available in stores on the 21st of September depending on stock.
Telstra was the first carrier off the block to announce their pricing – premium pricing on Australia’s premium 4G network. On Telstra plans for the 16GB version start at $67/month on the $60 plan for a 2 year contract. The plan comes with $600 included credit and 1 GB data. This is a full $20 more than comparable plans with other carriers.
As you can see in this screenshot, iPhone 5 16GB is free on higher plans. The 32GB version costs $11 on the S ($60) plan, $6 on the M ($80) plan and free on L ($100) and XL ($130) plans. M, L and XL plans come with 1 GB bonus data for the first 12 months. 64GB iPhone 5 is $17 on Small, $12 on Medium, $8 on Large and $7 on XL plans.
For the past couple of years Telstra has run an aggressive customer acquisition program with very competitive pricing. But now that phase appears to be well and truly over as they move back into a premium pricing model. Plans with bundled phones start at $60 and the included value on the new plans has reduced by nearly 20% compared to what it was six months ago. The iPhone 5 is not available on any of the old ‘grandfathered’ plans and users must sign up to one of the 4 new (more expensive) plans to get it on Telstra.
Optus plans started from a more reasonable $48/month for iPhone 5 16GB. Best suited to light users, this $30 plan comes with just $200 credit and 200 MB data. At the other end is the $129 Plan similar to Telstra’s XL plan with unlimited calls and 4 GB included data.
Plans for the iPhone 5 32GB start at $52/month on the lowest $30 plan going upto $82/month on the $80 plan before becoming free on higher plans. The 64GB version will set you back $57/month on the lowest $30 plan going upto $108/month on the $99 plan before becoming free on the top plan.
Optus are still in the process of rolling out their 4G networks so users may not enjoy the advertised 25 Mbps download speeds initially. However new cellsites are going live at a very decent clip. Just today Optus announced that the Melbourne 4G network is now live, bringing the Victorian capital at par with Sydney and Perth ahead of the new phone release.
Vodafone plans are at par with Optus and Virgin, though we did expect them to be cheaper given the lack of a 4G network. Vodafone made some changes to their plans across the board – monthly costs increased by $1 on most plans, included data reduced for mid range plans, new bonus options like infinite text and free on-net calls on some plans and some changes to the SIM only plans. Overall the changes appear to match the overarching Australian trend of lowering value in mobile plans.
iPhone 5 16GB on Vodafone starts at $48/month on the $30 Plan, again best suited to light users, and goes to $60/month on the $50 Plan before becoming free on higher plans.
32GB iPhone 5 plans start at $52/month on the $30 Plan going to $58/month on the $40 Plan, $64/month on the $50 Plan, $70/month on the $60 Plan and $82/month on the $80 Plan.
Vodafone are the only carrier to offer 12 month iPhone 5 plans. This 1 year option does not come cheap but offers more flexibility; you could potentially be out of contract by the time the iPhone 6 comes around! The 16 GB version costs $78/month on the lowest $30 Plan – a full $30 more per month than the 24 month contract. At the top end it costs $120/month to get the iPhone 5 on the $100 Plan on a 12 month contract.
Finally we get to iPhone 5 plans from Virgin. As Virgin uses the Optus 4G network, users will be able to high speed data as the 4G network is rolled out to more regions in coming months.
Virgin have the best value plans – 16GB plans start at $47/month on Big Plan 29 and go to $89 for the unlimited plan with 4GB data. Unlike other carriers, the lowest plan is decent value with $450 included credit and 250 MB data.
None of the smaller carriers will be carrying the new iPhone, though we may start to see the 4S becoming available through other channels as the price comes down.