iPhone 5c contract pricing: Australia vs US

Crunching the numbers side by side, it turns out that we’ve actually got pretty good deals down under.
Whenever new iPhones are released, somebody — or many somebodies — complain about the price disparity, but that’s usually US plan vs Australian outright pricing. Aussie telcos have released their pricing for the new iPhones, which means we can directly compare costs and plans. How do we stack up?
It happens every time, and it happened this time. When I was writing this up the other day, I noted that we simply didn’t have enough information to make an informed comparison for contract buyers.
Telstra and Vodafone have released pricing for the new iPhones, and I thought that it might be interesting to do a bit of price comparison, using the iPhone 5c 16GB — which should be the cheapest of the new iPhones — as the baseline.
Carrier“,”Upfront“,”Monthly Handset“,”Monthly Plan“,”Calls“,”SMS“,”Data“,”Total 24 Month Minimum Cost
“AT&T”,”$99 (AU$107) + $36 activation (~$AU146)”,$0.00 (+$10 SIM kit),$59.99,”450 minutes”,”Pay as you go”,”$25/month 2GB*”,”$2148.76 (~2320.73)”
“T-Mobile”,$0.00,$22.00,$50.00,”Unlimited”,”Unlimited”,”500MB”,”$1728 (~$AU1866)”
“Telstra”,$0.00,$11.00,$60.00,”$600 “worth””,”Unlimited”,”1GB”,”$1,704.00″
All prices are as per carrier websites… sort of. There are some caveats at play here. Firstly, AT&T?
Your website SUCKS for providing useful information.
Actually, sucks might just be an understatement. Feel free to insert your own euphemism as best suits your proclivities.
I frequently complain about the complexity of Australian carrier sites, but based on the research I’ve just been doing trying to find the lowest cost AT&T plan, we’ve got it very good indeed.
They’re great at providing call costings, but terrible on data. As such, the information above has been grabbed from several sources, and it’s feasible that the data pricing quoted may in fact be incorrect. At that kind of pricing gap, I’d rather hope it was. If anyone can point me to a rate card that mentions those details, I’ll update as I go.
Also, from what I can see, buying a 16GB iPhone 5c from T-Mobile makes very little sense; the rates are identical for the 32GB model for a one-time $99 fee, so if I was based in the US and wanted an iPhone 5c, that’s the plan I’d buy.
Still, even if you just use T-Mobile as the benchmark, and leaving aside any issues relating to perceived “value” of the iPhone 5c versus the iPhone 5s, the Australian pricing is arguably very good, especially when you consider that Australian networks are generally a lot better than their US counterparts at delivering services. US networks are slow critters, with a lot more variable coverage depending on where you are.
It also occurs to me that this ignores the actual value of money relative to things like minimum wages and so on; I don’t have an easy matrix to sort that out, but my head wants to suggest to me that it would push the Australian relative price even lower if I could.
So the next time somebody complains that “US iPhones are only $99, and they’re $739 here”, you can quietly and politely whack them over the head with some real figures. We’re still paying a premium if you do want to buy outright, but on contract, it’s a different story.

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