Three crashes iPhone party

Matthew JC. Powell
1 August, 2008
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Despite a spirited public begging campaign and petition with numerous signatures, 3G mobile phone provider Three has not managed to persuade Apple to take it on as a supplier of iPhones. However, that has not stopped it from targetting iPhone users with its own dedicated plans — you just have to buy the phone from somewhere else first.

Today Three sent out an announcement that, from Monday 4 August, it is offering a range of voice and data plans for custoimers who bring their unlocked iPhones to the telco. Both Optus and Telstra are selling iPhones and unlocking them, so Three’s move will doubtless generate some extra revenue for those providers as well.

Three’s plans start with a $49 cap which includes $350 worth of voice and SMS calls, plus 1GB of data and 300 minutes of calls to other Three subscribers. All the rest of Three’s plans include 2GB of data, and range from a $69 cap including $650 worth of calls, to $199 including $2000 worth of calls (plus 3000 minutes of calls to other Three phones).

The plans compare favourably with plans available from other carriers (particularly in terms of the data allowance), with the small proviso that you have to obtain your phone elsewhere before you can even talk to Three, and that can be an expensive process in itself.

The other downside is the limited range of Three’s 3G coverage — only in capital cities — and the fact that once you’re outside that coverage area you roam onto Telstra’s GPRS data network, and that data is not included in your plan but charged at casual rates.

Nonetheless, the news will doubtless be met favourably by Three’s many loyal customers who have been holding off buying an iPhone because they didn’t want to have to change providers.

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