Aussie telcos bend over for the iPhone

Photo of iPhoneAustralia’s mobile phone carriers may not completely grok Apple’s new iPhone 3G, but they know it’ll bring them customers — because they’re all scrambling to be Steve Jobs’ iPhone bitches. It’s an embarrassing spectacle.

Three carriers have announced packages available from tomorrow: Telstra, Optus and Vodafone. (Presumably 3, who’ve been asking their customers to beg for iPhones, haven’t bent over far enough.) There’s a comparison over at

According to my sources, all three Aussie telcos have bent over even further than US carrier AT&T. Apple already demands a bigger subsidy from carriers than other smartphone manufacturers. In the US, for example, AT&T pays Apple US$325 per unit compared with the usual $200 or so. However two individuals working within Telstra confirm that all three telcos offering iPhone here are also paying Apple an ongoing percentage of revenue. AT&T has escaped that revenue-sharing deal, but not the Aussies — and that’s presumably reflected in the somewhat disappointing plans on offer.

All three Australian carriers have missed the key point. Yes, iPhone can make phone calls. But its true role is a pocket-sized internet-connected computer.

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Aussie mobile providers “like deer in the iPhone headlights”

Dropping into Day 2 of the Mobile Content World conference last week was a step back in time. And not in a healthy Kyliesque mirror ball way. The hyper-connected Twitter rumour mill had told me something was wrong: they didn’t seem to understand what was happening. The rumours were right.

When user experience expert Oliver Weidlich of Ideal Interfaces showed them screenshots of the iPhone on the big screen, around 80% of the 150-odd audience sat up, alert, seeing it for the first time.


Sure, Apple’s groundbreaking product isn’t officially available here until the (rumoured) 19 June opening of slick new Apple stores in Sydney and Melbourne. You don’t have to have bought into the whole Steve Jobs personality cult, bought one overseas and hacked it for Aussie networks. But if you claim to be professional and haven’t at least read about the iPhone a year after its release you should be shot.

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