By Chris Nicholls

SYDNEY: Optus has announced prices for the iPhone 3G, with the much-hyped device selling for $0 upfront on a $79 cap for the eight gigabyte model.

Those who wish to purchase the lower model lower-priced caps will pay $2 a month for a $59 cap and $7 a month for those who purchase it on a $49 cap. Any price plan over $79 will, of course, include the iPhone free.

In a rare move (most global plans lock customers into a 24 month contract), the phone will also be available on 12 month plans, albeit at higher prices for the phone itself – a one year contract on a $79 cap pushes handset repayments to $27 a month, while prices rise to $32 and $37 a month on $59 and $49 caps respectively.

Optus has also offered unlimited data free for the first month to all new iPhone customers who connect before 31 August, but installed data download limits on each of its caps.

The $79 cap includes 700 MB of data, shared with the $59 cap, while the $49 cap includes a 500 MB data allowance.

Pre-paid customers will have to pay a lot more for the device, with an 8 GB model selling for $729 upfront and the 16 GB model costing $849, but all pre-paid offers are then compatible. However, Optus will offset this with a $400 credit start-up bonus and one gigabyte of downloads.

Full plans and pricing details are available at

“Optus’ iPhone 3G pricing makes the hottest device on the planet affordable for everyone – with a range of exclusive Pre-Paid and Post-Paid options to suit every budget and lifestyle,” said Optus Consumer Group marketing director, Michael Smith.

“We have replicated our popular cap and ‘yes’ mobile plans for iPhone 3G, and included fantastic mobile data allowances so customers can experience what iPhone 3G has to offer. These new Optus plans truly unleash the potential of iPhone 3G and will change the way customers use their mobiles.

“We have also boosted the value of our popular Pre-Paid Turbo Caps adding extra data to recharges from $40, so pre-paid customers can get their hands on this premium product, and enjoy using it, at a price they can afford,” he said.

“After the first month customers will have access to a generous data allowance on most plans to continue exploring. With these sensational offers, flexible contract options, manageable handset repayments and mobile data packs with the most value we’ve ever offered, we’re confident Australian iPhone 3G users will be more than happy with Optus.”

Optus’s iZoo web portal will feature iPhone 3G optimised content, as well as popular sites like Google, Facebook and MySpace. Users will also be able to access Fox Sports and use True Local and Carsguide with Petrol Price Finder.

Optus ‘yes’ Time, and ‘Recharge and Win’ will be offered with these new plans.