iPhone heads down under, pricing plans not yet clear

While we just can’t wait for the 3G iPhone launch in Australia on July 11, there have been varied stories about how much the nifty new handset will cost down under.
AppleInsider, reports that carrier Optus is offering two different kinds of plans to iPhone customers: ‘Yes’ Cap plans starting at $18.25 (U.S. dollars) per month for 100MB of data and $48 worth of national calls and text for the 8GB iPhone. Subscribers who sign one-year contracts with the $18.25 plan can pay off the handset in monthly installments of $48.93, two-year subscribers pay a $20.15 monthly handset fee. Monthly payments for the 16 GB model start at $58.53 with a one-year contract and $24.94 with a two-year agreement. Users pay 45 cents per 30 seconds call time and texts messages are 24 cents each after the monthly spending allowance. Users also pay a 34 cents “Flagfall” fee for each roaming call.

The alternative are no cap plans for similar amounts, with less allowance included but cheaper per minute fees. So, the $18.25 per month plan still includes 100MB of data, but only $14 worth of calls and texts. Additional calls cost 44 cents per 30 seconds and the Flagfall fee is only 24 cents per call. Text messages stay 24 cents each. The per month handset payback fee is also less, with the $18.25 plan and a 12-month contract, monthly pricing for the 8GB model starts at $47, and $56.60 a month for the 16GB iPhone.

No contract customers can get the 8GB 3G iPhone for $699.14 and the 16GB model for $814.20, pre-paid plans start at $28.77 per month with no data.

Meanwhile Gizmodo reported an angry call from Optus, saying that its post about iPhone pricing plans was incorrect. Gizmodo had reported that the iPhone would be available with two plans: a $75.83 cap plan that includes 1 GB of data and up to $287.96 in calls and SMS. And a $95.03 cap plan with 3GB worth of data and up to $383.96 in calls and SMS. Gizmodo’s tip also said the handset would only be available with a two-year contract and the 8GB model will cost $211.18, and the 16 GB model for $316.77.

On its Web site, Optus, says

“Optus Post-Paid customers can get the 8GB iPhone 3G for $0 upfront on a $79 ‘yes’ iPhone 3G Cap, with attractive handset payment options across all new plans… Pre-Paid customers can purchase the 8GB iPhone 3G for $729 then choose any current Pre-Paid calling offer.”

The carrier also says it is offering Free unlimited data on all iPhone 3G plans for the first month, for post-paid customers who connect before the end of August and free unlimited data for pre-paid customers until the end of August. In the hopes that customers will “completely immerse themselves in the features and functionality of the device.”