Economy

Telstra joins the iPhone bonanza with free handset offer

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The iPhone 3G will be available from Telstra when it is released on 11 July, effectively pouring cold water on any hopes Vodafone and Optus had of keeping a sales edge through their deals with Apple.

The iPhone 3G will be available from Telstra when it is released on 11 July, effectively pouring cold water on any hopes Vodafone and Optus had of keeping a sales edge through their deals with Apple.

The Telstra deal is said to have been drawn out by the dispute it had with Apple over providing access to Telstra’s content services from the handset. Telstra’s consumer group managing director David Moffatt says the carrier’s 3G network will also provide iPhone coverage “to 99% of the population”.

The iPhone works on the 850-megahertz 3G networks, exclusively used in Australia by Telstra for its Next G network. The iPhone will also work on the 2100MHz networks used by all carriers in metropolitan areas but not on the 900MHz networks Optus and Vodafone are building in less densely populated areas.

Telstra’s deal leaves 3 as the only main carrier left out in the cold.

Plans start at $30 a month with an upfront cost of $279 for the 8GB model and $399 for the 16GB model. But customers will receive the 8GB iPhone at no cost with the $80 plan and either the 8GB or the 16GB model at no cost with plans starting at $100 a month. All plans include free Wi-Fi access at Telstra hotspots and require a 24-month contract.

Gadget guide website Gizmodo.com.au reports that the deal does not go into detail of how much data will be included, although says the added benefit of Telstra hotspots is nice: “There’s one of those at most Starbucks and airport lounges around the country.”

In the US the 8GB iPhone will sell for $US199 ($210), while the 16GB model will retail for $US299.

 

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