Optus has become the first telco in Australia to release a BlackBerry smartphone on a prepaid mobile phone plan.
Previously only available on post-paid, BlackBerry-specific contract plans, Optus is now offering the entry-level BlackBerry Curve 8520 smartphone on a prepaid plan without a contract.
In addition to a $399 outright cost for the smartphone, consumers are required to connect to an Optus prepaid BlackBerry Turbo cap. Optus BlackBerry Turbo caps have recharges ranging from $30 to $100. A $30 recharge provides $150 worth of calls and text and $150 worth of credit for SMS or MMS messages to any other prepaid Optus mobile in Australia. Credit on Optus prepaid plans expires within 30 days.
Users who connect and activate an Optus Turbo prepaid plan will also receive free unlimited access to BlackBerry e-mail, instant messaging, social networking and Internet browsing for 12 months. After 12 months, standard mobile data rates will apply.
Data usage on Optus prepaid plans is charged in 60KB increments and costs a hefty $1.32 per 60KB. However, Optus spokesperson Siobhan Quinn confirmed that Optus will be releasing BlackBerry-specific data plans once the 12-month offer expires. "The 12-month free offer is an introductory offer, but Optus will be introducing specific data plans for BlackBerry prepaid mobile plans at a later date. Customers will then be able to switch to a new BlackBerry data pack at the end of the 12-month introductory offer," confirmed Quinn.
The unlimited Internet and BlackBerry e-mail access offer is only available only to new customers who activate the BlackBerry Curve 8520 with a BlackBerry Turbo cap, so you can't use a different BlackBerry with this offer.
"Research shows that our prepaid mobile customers are technology savvy and want the latest technology at their fingertips, so they are sure to be keen to connect to the new BlackBerry Curve 8520 on prepaid," said Consumer Marketing Director at Optus, Jim Jaques.
"With the increasing popularity of BlackBerry smartphones, we are focused on getting the latest handsets into our customers' hands. We have also tailored our pricing to suit their needs by including substantial data allowances so our customers can make the most of their BlackBerry smartphone and mobile Internet experience,” Jaques said.
The Optus Turbo BlackBerry prepaid plan does not require a contract to be signed, but the BlackBerry Curve 8520 is locked to the Optus network. A fee of $80 applies if you leave Optus for any reason within six months of your activation date, though if you have purchased $80 worth of credit no fee applies.
For more information, visit Optus' prepaid BlackBerry Web page.