3G Mobile Phones

With more bandwidth and endless multimedia possibilites, 3G mobile phones are leaving 2G in the dust.

Plans & Pricing

Like all other mobile accounts, the range of plans and pricing varies a great deal with 3G services. Telstra offers a range of 3G mobile packages starting at $49 that include voice calls, message bank and text messaging. Internet and e-mail bundles start at $5 per month for 1MB download of data and go as high as $29 per month for 70MB of data, with additional charges above this cap.

Due to its long market presence, 3 Mobile is the most advanced with a range of packages of both prepaid (a rarity for 3G) and post-pay plans for the service. Of the post-pay plans, the cheapest starts at $29 and includes voice calls and voice mail with additional charges for SMS and MMS. In terms of the 3G services, national video calls cost 35c per 30 seconds with a 25c flag fall fee. E-mail is free to receive but costs 20c to send. Casual Internet is charged at 0.4c per KB with bundles and special offers for high-use Internet access. The top-of-the-line package is $149, although the same rates for video calls, e-mail and casual Internet access apply across all the plans. Prices for Planet 3 (its 3G content portal) vary according to the type of service, which can include news, sport, weather, event guides, music and adult content.

The Vodafone 3G offering, known as Vodafone Live!, runs through a dedicated portal and includes Internet, e-mail, picture messaging, polyphonic ring tones as well as news video downloads and "mobisodes", which are made-for-mobile TV shows. Vodafone also offers pay-per-download music files. The costs range from 75c for video messaging, 25c for e-mail to $3 per month for a full-category news subscription service. Vodafone offers their 3G services across a range of handsets.

Optus launched its 3G service in 2005 with a business package offering in Canberra. At the time, the company emphasised the high-speed data download service for business and government for files and applications. The 3G service is continuing to roll out and now covers Sydney, Melbourne, Geelong, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. The Optus capped voice plans range from $49 to $89 per month with extra fees applicable to content specific packages such as its Mobile IM service.

For Telstra's Next G network, packages start from $52 per month and this includes a $40 per month voice plan, and $12 for access to 12 channels of Foxtel for a maximum of 200 minutes. Extra costs include 25 cents for each local text message, and data charges, which are on a pay as you use basis. The cost of accessing the Internet can also be set at a $5, $8, or $29 monthly fees depending on the amount of data users intend to access.

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Ross Catanzariti

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