How will the iPhone 6 affect Australian telecommunications?
Apple has recently unveiled its latest offer and the iPhone 6 and sibling, the 6 Plus, look set to shake up the telecommunications arena.
In the wake of the new device, Telstra, SingTel-Optus and Vodafone have all reviewed their pricing and plans so here is a guide comparing their offers.
Telstra is focusing on its 4G services and aims to have 90 per cent of Australians using 4G by February 2015. In order to reach more consumers, the company is combining its radio spectrum, a process known as carrier aggregation. This will eventually allow Telstra customers to reach speeds up to 300 megabits per second.
The company already has a $1.3 billion stake in the 700MHz radio spectrum that will allow it to offer the best-performing 4G services. This looks set to go live on January 1, 2015 according to the Australian Financial Review (AFR).
AFR author David Ramli also quotes Morgan Stanley Research analysts who claim the iPhone 6 will net Telstra an extra 465,000 customers by the end of the financial year in 2015, bringing with them an additional $500 million in revenue.
The Morgan Stanley report indicates that most iPhone users (45 percent) choose Telstra, despite claims it is too expensive. An article published by News Corp states Telstra's best deal will set you back $86 a month, including the 64GB iPhone 6, $700 of call credit, unlimited text and 1.5GB of data.
News Corp revealed on September 10 that Telstra is also offering new customers a sweetener, encouraging them to make the switch. From September 16, it still offer $200 towards an early termination fee and a $250 credit for trading in an old smartphone.
It has also shadowed American carrier T-Mobile and introduced a New Phone Feeling fee. This $10 a month fee lets customers upgrade to a new handset in a 12 month period, rather than waiting for the standard 24. This means you can upgrade your phone after a year.
While it seems many customers are turning to Telstra for their iPhone needs, Optus made several changes to its plans in the lead up to the iPhone 6, designed to encourage customers to make the switch.
In fact, Optus was the first to introduce offering $200 for customers needing to terminate their existing plans early. It also began offering $250 credit for trading in an old smartphone - a policy that Telstra also shares.
This plan is designed to encourage those who can't wait to get their hands on it. Preorders are currently open now, and these people will be able to start their plans around three months early, with no additional cost.
In a September 10 article, News Corp said that 1.5 million handsets were sold in the months immediately following the launch of the iPhone 5, with most buyers looking to sign on as soon as possible.
Optus has a slightly better deal than Telstra, according to News Corp, offering a 64GB iPhone 7 for $86 a month with unlimited calls, texting and 5GB of data. However, this deal is only offered until November 2. For an extra $5 a month you can upgrade to the iPhone Plus at $91 a month.
Vodafone Australia has not offered any incentives for customers to break existing plans in order to purchase the new iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 plus.
The AFR predicted on September 3 that Vodafone will lose around 6 per cent of its customers if the iPhone 6 came out with a 5.5-inch screen, which is just what Apple announced with the iPhone 6 Plus.
However, there is the chance that Optus or Vodafone could begin an aggressive pricing war in order to close the 4G coverage gap with Telstra.
Vodafone may use its newly created Red Plans in order to improve its supply base. This plan costs $80 a month plus $2 for the handset payments. This amount will get you 4GB of data and infinite calls and texts. If you want to use your phone overseas, you can pay an extra $5 for roaming.
A September 16 article by News Corp examined the prices offered by the various telecommunications companies and advised that Virgin is the best deal "if you don't really care about what's included with your shiny new gadget".
Virgin is offering 300MB of data and $300 worth of calls and texts over 24 months for only $55 per month. Those switching from another network can also enjoy a bonus 2GB of data each month.
The company also offers the best deal for those looking at upgrading to the iPhone 6 Plus, according to News Corp. In fact, for $87 a month you can get a 64GB iPhone 6 Plus with unlimited calls and texts as well as 4GB of data. New customers can also benefit from a bonus 2GB of data.
Posted by Richard West.