Infinite is the word that comes to mind when checking out the number of mobile phone plans available for the iPhone 4. There are capped plans, business plans, unlimited plans and a few inbetween. All the Telcos want to offer up the best deals, but once you cut through all the palaver, what’s left? At CyberShack, we’re going to do the work for you. We’ve gone through the plans that are currently available and sorted the wheat from the chafe. We’ll give you which plan we think is best with which Telco, then we’ll give you an overall winner of who we think offers the best value for money.
Full transparency here – Optus does have a deal with Apple, so the plans it has on offer are pretty good. It has Cap Plan, Extreme Time Plans, Business Complete Average Plans and Business Timeless Advantage Plans. With costs range from between $19 and $129, there is something for everyone, whether you’re a consumer or business customer. With some of its Extreme Cap plans there are monthly up-front costs for the phone - price varies depending on whether you take up the 16GB or 32GB option.
Social networking fans will be pleased to know that on all of Optus’s iPhone 4 plans, hooking into Facebook, Twitter, Linked in, MySpace, Ebay and foursquare will not cost you anything in terms of data uploads or downloads – in other words, it’s free. Like any type of plan, you need to take into account how often you use your phone and whether you do a lot of SMSing or data downloading, as well as making calls.
While there are a some interesting aspects to the Timeless Extreme Plans – such as unlimited national calls to other Optus phones, and SMS’s, we think value for money, Optus’s Extreme Cap Plans are the way to go – more specifically, its $59 product. Why? Well, for a start, it costs you the aforementioned $59 for a whole month and you get 2GB of data, unlimited calls to other Optus phones and SMSing, as well as $550 worth of other calls. The next plan up costs you and extra $20, but you only get an extra $250 worth of calls. Not that much better if you ask us, and if you’re a full-on texter, it doesn’t matter because you can type until your heart's content at no extra cost.
Vodafone is struggling to keep pace with the deals offered by its competition, but if you are not a fan of the Big Two, and want to give the third vendor in the mobile carrier heirachy a crack, then there are a couple of deals that might suit.
Currently there are several deals between $29 and $79, and while Vodafone are as generous as it competition in some aspects, there are other ways in which they are left wanting.
It has 12 and 24 month cap plans, as well as combo cap plans. To us, it looks like the combo plans offer the best deal for the money spent. Check out the $49 Combo Cap for the 16GB iPhone 4. For your money you get unlimited Vodafone to Vodafone calls, with three free standard calls a day, too. You also get up to $450 worth of phone calls a month, plus a free USB modem and up to 500MB of mobile internet data and mobile broadband data. However, where Vodafone falls down is no free SMSing on any of its plans.
The Big Daddy of Telco land has a few plans on the go for both the 16GB and 32GBV phones, but seems a little stingy on the benefits. They have Next G caps offering between $49 and $129, as well as ordinary iPhone plans that cost between $30-$150.
The more expensive the plan, the less upfront cost of the iPhone . In fact, if you spend over $99 on the Next G Cap plan, the 16GB and 32GB come free, while on the ordinary iPhone 4 plan you get a ‘free’ 16GB phone if you spend $80 or more, while the 32GB only comes free on the $150 plan.
Data allowances can vary depending on price, from between 500MB to 6GB on the cap plans, once again, depending on which plan you go with. You do get up to $400 worth of calls on the $49 plan, while the big-end $129 offering gives you a whopping $1,500 worth of calls.
Unlike its competition, there is no mention on any of Telstra’s plans about free calls to other Telstra numbers, and like Vodafone there doesn’t appear to be unlimited SMS’s like some of Optus’s plans.
Overall, the best value for money is the $79 Next G offering, which gives you 1GB of data, plus an extra 500MB if you sign up before 1 November. You will also get $750 worth of calls and SMSing. As stated, a little stingy compared to its competitors. However, one thing that is hard to argue with, is that Telstra does have the best coverage of all the carriers.
And the winner is?
The problem with doing a story like this, is that there are many variables that come into play. All the Telcos have little idiosyncrasies that will appeal to differing people. However, if you look at overall value – whether its data downloads, SMSing or phonecalls – we reckon, as it stands, the Optus $59 cap plan is the best value for money. But remember this: mobile phone plans change more frequently than sand dunes in the Sahara, so expect more competitive pricing in the near future.