updated 05:50 pm EDT, Mon August 4, 2008
Virgin Australia: Iphone
In the US and Canada, iPhone owners have only one choice for wireless service; as of Monday, Australia now has four. Virgin Mobile Australia has confirmed that it has become the fourth wireless company to offer the iPhone 3G, joining a market already crowded by Vodafone, Optus and Telstra. Virgin is apparently off to a fast start: a check of its website shows both the 8GB and 16GB models are already "out of stock."
The company is offering two plans, both of which come with a "free" iPhone, made possible through a contract credit. The first plan - which costs about $65 (US) - comes with 1GB of data, unlimited text messaging and calls to Virgin customers and a $490 "credit" toward other calls and texts. The second plan includes 5GB of data for about $93 a month. It's important to note that under these plans, calls cost about 70˘ per minute with a 37˘ connect fee. Much of the monthly fee goes toward paying for the iPhone, allegedly.
The fine print on Virgin Australia's website contains some interesting information about unlocking. Customers are required to keep their phones locked to the Optus network for the first year or pay an $80 unlocking fee. Optus and Vodafone were the first to enter the iPhone market when it launched July 11. Telstra joined them in late July.