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What iPhone 4S plan is best for you?

By Patrick Stafford
Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Telstra has finally released the pricing for its iPhone 4S packages, and with the device coming in just two days, customers are eagerly judging all the major telcos on how they can get the most bang for their buck.


With all three major telcos now having released their plans, it’s a good time to see how they all stack up side by side and determine what deal will be the best for you. Whether you’re a data-heavy user, or just want something cheap, there’s a plan to suit all needs.





Cheap as chips

If all you want is a cheap deal, and nothing else, then it’s probably best looking at one of the Vodafone deals. The cheapest, which gives you a 16GB model on a $29 cap, with a $15 handset, is just $44 a month. That’ll only give you 200MB of data, but it’s better than nothing.


The next few after that are the $29 cap and the 32GB and 64GB models, with total monthly costs of just $49 and $54 a month. Those two will give 1.5GB and 2GB a month as well.


Vodafone dominates the lower-end of the market, with the cheapest Optus plan at $59 a month, with 1.5GB of data, while Telstra’s cheapest is at $63 per month with 1.5GB of data.


There are plenty of cheap plans, but you’re going to sacrifice data if you want the lowest. The best bet is the Vodafone $29 plan with a 32GB model, which costs only $49 per month and gives you 1.5GB worth of data.

Data heavy

If you’re after something with heaps of data, then you’re going to want to look at Optus, which is the only telco to offer plans with 5GB of data. That’s on the $99 plan, which offers every handset without the need for repayments.


After that, you’re going to need to look at the $100 per month Infinite plan on Vodafone, which offers 4GB of data. If you’re on the 24-month plan there are no handset repayments, while the 12-month contract will see you pay $18, $28 and $38 for the 16GB, 32GB and 64GB models respectively.


Good all-rounder

Thankfully there are plenty of deals in the $50-70 range that will provide you with a good amount of value without breaking the bank. These deals do everything – cheap handset and plenty of data.


One of the best is the Vodafone $59 plan, which gives you 2GB of data. If you get the 16GB model, it’s free, with $5 for the 32GB and $10 for the 64GB.


On Optus, you're probably going to want to look at the $49 cap, with offers 1.5GB of data with handset repayments of between $10-19. The $10 payment gives you a $59 deal, which is good value.


On Telstra, you're probably best going with the $59 cap, with offers 1.5GB of data and handset payments of between $4-13 dollars.


Best business plan


If you're using your phone for business then you're going to be using it a lot. The Vodafone Infinite plans are something you should definitely take a look at, as they'll provide the best amount of value.


The plans range from $45 to $100, with $65 and $85 versions as well. Each Infinite plan provides unlimited text and talk value, with data ranging from 500MB to 4GB.


If you shell out $100 per month – which isn't much more than some of the other deals at Optus or Telstra – you won't have any handset repayments for two years, and you'll get 4GB of data a month. Unless you're downloading dozens of films and television shows, this is a plan designed specifically for constant use.


Things to consider

There are two main considerations you’ll want to keep in mind when choosing an iPhone plan. The first is how much on-board memory you’ll need, as that will affect your repayment price, and how much data you expect to use every day. Over or underestimate these two and you’ll end up choosing the wrong plan.


The first choice, how much storage you require, is the less important of the two. The iPhone 4S comes in three models – 16GB, 32GB and 64GB. Each telco has their own pricing for repayments, with the cheapest at $0, all the way up to $59 for the 64GB model on the Optus, 12-month $49 cap.


If you’re using the phone mostly for business and not so much for enjoyment and pleasure, then you’re probably going to be fine with a 16GB model. This will allow you to hang onto a number of large apps and documents without much trouble at all.


However, if you intend on using the iPhone as a media entertainment device, then you’re going to want to look at the 32GB or 64GB version, which will allow you to hold multiple films, television shows, music and podcasts without any fuss.


Be sure you estimate how much you’re going to need for storage, as you don’t want to pay for extra that you’re not using. Keep in mind, you don’t necessarily have to keep everything on your device. There are plenty of apps available, such as Air Video, that allow you to stream media files from your computer without any trouble.


However, those apps require a larger data allowance, which is the second, and more important, decision you’ll make. The iPhone is made for web browsing, whether that’s through Safari or other apps. Limiting the amount of data you can download limits your capacity to use the iPhone as it was designed.


Although there are plenty of users who don’t want to download too much, the mobile internet is growing. For those using the iPhone as a business tool, you’re going to be downloading email, files through Dropbox, looking at PDFs and then sending them again, and possibly looking at much bigger media files.


Apart from that, downloading videos on YouTube and streaming media from your own computer on the road can take up a fair bit of bandwidth.


You don’t want to be conservative about how much data you use. After all, telcos charge a significant amount of money for going over your data cap.


Keep these two decisions in balance, as this will affect not only how much you pay but also how much enjoyment and use you’ll be able to get out of the device.


This article first appeared on SmartCompany.

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Ummm was there meant to be Optus figures dropped in here too? Not just two Vodafones?
a guest , October 13, 2011
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