Iphone in Australia?

Discussion in 'iPhone Tips, Help and Troubleshooting' started by gmagnes, Dec 25, 2010.

  1. gmagnes macrumors member

    Jul 23, 2008
    My daughter will be studying in Australia for approximately 18 months, starting in February, 2011. We're trying to determine her best smart phone option for Australia. Can folks tell me:
    1--Is it better to purchase a used iphone in the US on ebay or similar, then have it unlocked in Australia and use it with an Australian Carrier or better to purchase it in Australia through an Australian carrier?
    2--About how much does it cost to purchase an iphone in Australia as part of a plan? Similar to US prices?
    3--Approximately what are Australian monthly costs with data plans? Does anyone have a recommendation on 1-2 carriers to consider? She will be in Melbourne.
    4--Leaving aside issues of functionality/user preference etc, is there any reason to prefer a Droid or Symbian smart phone to an Iphone in terms of cost or ease of use in Australia?
  2. abc123 macrumors 6502

    Apr 26, 2004
    Hi there I will do my best to answer your questions:

    1. I *think* all iphones sold in the US are locked (perhaps permanently) to whichever carrier currently has exclusive rights. I'm not sure that you can unlock it here without jailbreaking it. I may be wrong though. All iphones sold on plans in Australia can be unlocked for free by request so she would be able to take it home with her to use.

    2/3. On the best network (telstra) the 16gb iphone4 is currently $175 upfront and $49/month which includes 1GB of data and "$400" worth of calls, text, etc. Most other networks offer plans including the phone at around the $50-$60 price range that include 1-2GB of data and enough calls for regular use.

    Plans on Australian carriers require a credit check though and all the iphone plans i've seen involve signing a 24 month contract, it is quite likely that your daughter will be refused because she won't be in the country for 24 months and is not a resident/has no credit history here.

    Telstra has by far the best network but is also the most expensive. Virgin and Optus run on the same network but Virgin generally have better deals. Vodafone and 3 are basically the same company with the same prices but have been having a lot of network trouble recently, I'm not sure what it is like in melbourne though.

    4. There are cheaper android phones here than the iphone but phones of a similar quality (e.g. samsung galaxy s) are priced pretty much the same. Australia has a number of networks that run on different frequencies and the iphone works on all but there are a couple of different versions of droid phones specific to different networks, this may have an impact if your daughter wants to take the phone home and have it work on a network in the US, if she does I would go with an iphone or make sure you pick a carrier that uses the same frequency as your carrier in the US.

    You can also buy the iphone here outright and unlocked for about $850 for the 16GB version, though it is more expensive than buying on a plan. This is what I have done and I have the phone on a prepaid offer with Telstra. The offer I use is the cap+ which is a bit complicated so probably better to look on the website for more info. Basically you get bonus calls and a little bit of data and then can use dollar amount you spent towards extra calls, data, international calls, etc so it is very flexible. The most I ever spend is $30/month doing this and I am not locked into a 24 month contract which suits me.
  3. gmagnes thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 23, 2008
    Australia Iphone Follow Up

    Thanks so much for taking the time to provide such thorough answers to all of my questions. If I'm understanding you correctly, it sounds like the best option is to get an iphone here (I'm pretty sure all can be unlocked and/or Jailbroken if need be), bring it to Australia, and sign up for a prepaid plan of some sort, such as the one you use. We'll take a closer look at that one online. It appears that if you look carefully, you can get used 16 gb Iphone 4's on Ebay for a lot less than the $850 you mention that you paid in Australia. I haven't checked the 3GS, but there may even be more reasonable prices for it.
    Thanks again,
    PS--Would love to hear any further thoughts of others who've dealt with similar issues
  4. abc123 macrumors 6502

    Apr 26, 2004
    I bought my phone brand new and unlocked from apple for $850 here, second hand is much cheaper of course.

    I think the cheapest prepaid option is Virgin which comes with 1GB of data, free text and only a few calls for $19/month. It really depends on what she will use it for and how much.

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