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COMMENT: The new iPhone 4 is set to be launched in Australia on the 30th of July and for many who are contemplating a new Smartphone the decision could hinge on the data package and the network.

So who has the best network?

If you are buying on price, Optus has rolled out some of the cheapest data deals for the iPhone 4.    Telstra offers the iPhone 4 16GB on a 24-month $49 cap plan (including $400 per month worth of calls and texts and 200MB data) for an upfront fee of $149, or $299 for the iPhone 4 32GB.

On the other side of town Optus is offering an entry-level plan which includes an iPhone 4, 16GB model on a 24-month $49 cap plan (including $450 per month worth of calls and texts and 1GB data) plus an additional handset fee of $8 a month, or $15 a month for the 32GB version.

The difference is 800MB of data.

But at the end of the day it could be Telstra that delivers the best deal via their Next G Network which is considered one of the best mobile networks in the world.

Research shows that a lot of consumers are now using their iPhone for gaming and if this is the case there is nothing worse than a slow network especially if you are network gaming.

For the past 3 weeks I have been using the Optus network with the new Samsung Galaxy S and, while it worked okay in Metro Sydney, it was terrible elsewhere. During a recent trip to Thredbo and rural NSW the phone struggled alongside my other phone, the HTC Desire, which was on the Next G network. Both were running Android OS.

Moving forward consumers are going to be inundated with data download opportunities and there is nothing worse than having to sit and wait for a data download. Right now carriers are loading up phones with applications with the iPhone being the exception due to strict sales policies by Apple.

 

With the Galaxy S, Optus is even spruiking gambling with a Real Blackjack application that forces consumers to access a site run by Genina.com. Once at this site, consumers are asked to buy credit.

The difference between networks in Australia is quite significant depending on where you are located. Telstra, Optus and Vodafone all have strong metro networks but as soon as you start moving away from metropolitan areas the one network that stands out is the Telstra Next G network.

A complicated issue for Apple is the quality of their antenna. In the US and the UK users of the iPhone 4 have complained of dropout problems due to the location and design of the antenna however one carrier employee in Australia, who gave SmartHouse access to a new iPhone 4 running on their network, is convinced that the drop out problems will be minimal in Australia due to the quality of our networks in major metropolitan cities across Australia.

A senior Telstra executive said: “The AT&T network, which has the iPhone 4 exclusive in the USA is choking from data downloads due to an explosion in Smartphone sales and data downloads. During a recent trip to the USA my Blackberry constantly dropped out. Apple is aware of this issue and has reached agreement with AT&T to help them in the upgrading of their network. We believe that some of the issues with the perceived antenna drop out is the lack of a strong network signal in the first place”.

They added: “With the Telstra NextG network we do not have the same problems and by the end of the year we will have lifted the speed of our network considerably.”     

 

 

At the end of the day, the decision is in the hands of the carriers. On one hand Optus want to sell cheap data plans and snare as many consumers as possible, irrelevant of whether you get a good Smartphone experience across Australia.  On the other hand Telstra wants to control the amount of business they have on their network while deliver a better financial return for Telstra. They do have a superior network and like a lot of quality brands, that comes at a price.

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p class=”MsoNormal”>The decisions is yours.   

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