Australian iPhone plans 'very competitively priced'

RESEARCH by an independent comparison website shows Australia has some of the cheapest iPhone 5 plans in the global smartphone market.

Independent comparison website WhistleOut analysed plans from Australia, the United States, New Zealand and the United Kingdom and found that, while the price of physical gadgets was often cheaper in the US, Australians were receiving some of the most affordable mobile service contract options for the iPhone 5.

WhistleOut director Cameron Craig said researchers were able to break down plans to compare them on a per-minute basis across each country - a task made more difficult by the fact Australian telcos advertise calls and text in terms of dollar-value.

"Our data shows that Australian telcos have priced their iPhone 5 plans very competitively in comparison to similar countries," Mr Craig said.

The study found Virgin Mobile had the lowest price plan option of all the countries on a 24-month basis, at just $47 per month ($1128).

"Beyond the entry level plans, we also compared the plans which provide a moderate amount of monthly calls using a comparison point of a minimum of 400 included minutes per month. The UK carrier O2 come out the winner in this example with Aussie telco Vodafone coming in at a close second with a small $68 difference across 24 months," he said.

"Consumers in NZ will pay almost double for the same type of plan."

WhistleOut, an Australian website, also looked at the needs of big data users and compared the prices of each country's most expensive iPhone 5 plans with a minimum of 4GB of data.

"Unlimited data options are available in the US and UK for iPhone plans," Mr Craig said.

"Unfortunately, Australians are yet to enjoy an unlimited data plan offer in the mobile market. In Australia, over the last 12 months there has been a trend for carriers to reduce data inclusions."

In comparing the 4G/LTE networks now accessible with the iPhone 5, the USA had the widest spread of 4G coverage, with Australia coming in second.

Mr Craig said some Australian consumers were reporting 4G speeds of over 60Mbps on iPhone 5.

Australia's only 4G LTE networks are the Telstra and Optus networks, meaning just Telstra, Optus and Virgin Mobile support full 4G LTE connectivity. Vodafone offers 3G+ support and has plans to begin a 4G rollout in early 2013.

Telstra and Optus only offer 4G LTE within selected metropolitan areas, but are continuing to expand their networks.

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Topics:  apple iphone mobile phone technology

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