Telstra has announced that it will become the third carrier to offer the iPhone 3G in Australia, alongside Optus and Vodafone. According to the announcement, Telstra will begin offering the iPhone July 11 with a range of specifically appointed Next G iPhone 3G plans. Plans will start at $A30 (~$29) per month with an upfront cost of $A279 (~$269) for the 8GB model and $A399 (~$384) for the 16GB model. Customers will receive the 8GB iPhone 3G model at no cost with the $A80 (~$77) plan and either the 8GB or the 16GB model at no cost with plans starting at $A100 (~$96) per month. All plans include free Wi-Fi access at Telstra hotspots and require a 24-month contract. Telstra has previously threatened legal action over what it considered to be potentially misleading claims made by competing network Optus regarding its iPhone 3G service.
“Australians are very excited about iPhone 3G and we’re delighted to bring this product to them on Telstra’s high-speed Next G network,” said David Moffatt, Telstra’s consumer group managing director. “With iPhone 3G on the country’s largest and fastest 3G network, providing coverage to 99 percent of the population, more Australians will enjoy the iPhone 3G experience in even more places.”
“We’re thrilled to work with Telstra to bring iPhone 3G to Australia’s largest 3G network,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s COO. “iPhone 3G is an amazing product and we think Telstra’s over 9 million mobile customers will love it as much as we do.”
Hutchison Telecom Hong Kong has revealed its pricing and service plans for the iPhone 3G in Hong Kong. Following precedents set in various other countries, Hutchison will offer tiered pricing on the iPhone 3G, based on which of the four iPhone Tariff Plans the customer chooses for his or her 24-month agreement. With the HK$498 (roughly $64) plan, which includes unlimited data and 2,200 basic minutes, the 8GB iPhone 3G will sell for HK$0, while the 16GB model will run HK$138 (~$18). The 8GB iPhone 3G will run HK$938 (~$120) with the HK$328 (~$42) tariff, which includes 500MB of data and 1,500 minutes, while the 16GB model will cost HK$1,738 (~$223). With the HK$268 (~$34) plan, which offers 500MB of data and 800 minutes, the 8GB model will cost HK$1,738, while the 16GB model will cost HK$2,538 (~$325). The 8GB iPhone 3G will sell for HK$2,938 (~$377), and the 16GB model for HK$3,738 (~$479) with the most affordable, HK$188 (~$24) tariff, which offers 500MB of data and 500 basic minutes. All four plans include unlimited on-network SMS messaging, as well as a limited number of credits good toward access to 3-provided multimedia and text-based content.
Hutchison will begin taking pre-registrations for the iPhone 3G on July 1, and will kick off iPhone 3G sales in Hong Kong with an “iPhone 3G First Day Sales Gala,” with attendees randomly selected from pre-registered customers. “iPhone 3G will herald a leap in mobile data consumption. Customers will love using the revolutionary iPhone 3G to explore the mobile Internet and exchange information while on the move. We foresee that the new generation customers will no longer go after call plans with excessive call minutes; rather they will look for price plans that offer them complete ease of mind when consuming mobile data. We are enabling customers to fully embrace the mobile Internet world by redefining mobile tariffs with four data-centric price plans that are ideal for mobile data consumption,” said Amy Lung, Chief Operating Officer, Mobile, Hutchison Telecom Hong Kong.
In an interview with the Financial Times, Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg has referred to the press’ suggestion that Apple’s iPhone 3G handset will see widespread success a “conspiracy.” Seidenberg described Apple as a “great company,” while pointing out its currently small share of global handset sales, and scoffing at the suggestion that the iPhone 3G’s lower subsidized pricing will help it gain mass-market acceptance. “There goes the conspiracy again,” he said. “You’re declaring them a winner before they’ve earned it on the field.” He also said that Apple CEO Steve Jobs has no monopoly on innovation, while describing how advanced mobile handsets could cause problems for other companies’ business models. “It’s very cool. And Steve Jobs eventually will get old . . . I like our chances.” Verizon recently announced a deal to buy Alltel for $28.1 billion, a move that will make it the largest US mobile company with more than 80 million customers. Seidenberg’s comments follow an incident in which a radio DJ staged a smashing of his iPhone, only to receive a call from Sprint CEO Dan Hesse moments later, who said “that was music to my ears.” The DJ’s destruction of the iPhone allegedly was “bought” by Sprint to promote a competing phone.
Norwegian iPhone carrier NetCom has revealed its pricing and service plans for the iPhone 3G. Three different “iTalk” plans — Small, Medium, and Large — will be offered for the iPhone 3G, with the price of the handset varying based on the accompanying plan. The Small plan is priced at 399 NOK (~$79) and includes 100 voice minutes, 100 SMS messages, and 100 MB of data. When purchased with the Small plan, the 8GB iPhone 3G will cost 1390 NOK (~$275), while the 16 GB model will run 2290 NOK (~$452). The Medium plan provides 250 minutes, 250 texts, and 250MB of data for 699 NOK (~$138), and brings the cost of the 8GB iPhone 3G down to 690 NOK (~$136), while the 16 GB model runs 1590 NOK (~$314) with the plan. Finally, the Large plan runs 1099 NOK (~$217) a month and includes 1000 minutes, 1000 SMS, and 1000 MB of data. The 8GB iPhone costs only 1 NOK when purchased with the Large plan; users may upgrade to the 16GB model for 890 NOK (~$176). The iPhone 3G will launch in Norway on July 11.
Telia has announced its pricing for the iPhone 3G and its associated voice and data plans in Sweden, and will offer the iPhone 3G for as little as one Swedish Krona (basically free) with a 24-month contract on its most expensive iPhone plan. The carrier will offer three voice and data plans for the iPhone 3G, named iMini, iMidi, and iMaxi, that will cost 299 SEK (around $50), 489 SEK (around $82), and 859 SEK (around $144) a month, respectively. The iMini plan offers 100 voice minutes, 100 SMS messages, and 100MB of data, while the iMidi plans offers 250 voice minutes, 250 SMS texts, and 250MB of data, and the iMaxi plan offers 1,000 voice minutes, 1,000 SMS messages, and 1,000 MB of data. All three plans will include unlimited free Wi-Fi at over 1,800 hotspots in Sweden.
Pricing for the iPhone 3G will be tiered based on the length of the contract and the plan selected. The 8GB model will sell for 1,695 SEK (roughly $283) with a 24-month contract for the iMini plan, 995 SEK (~$166) with the iMidi, and 1 SEK with the iMaxi plan. The 16GB model sells with the same agreements for 2,495 SEK (~$417), 1,795 SEK (~$300), and 795 SEK (~$133). 18-month contracts will also be offered for both models and with all three plans. The 8GB model will sell 2,495 SEK (~$417) with the iMini plan on an 18-month basis, 1,895 SEK (~$317) with iMidi plan, and 1,395 SEK (~$233) with iMaxi plan. Finally, the 16GB model will sell for 3,295 SEK (~$551) with the iMini plan on an 18-month contract, 2,695 SEK (~$450) with the iMidi plan, and 2,195 SEK (~$367) with the iMaxi plan. Telia will begin selling the iPhone 3G in Sweden at all 84 of its stores on July 11.
China Mobile’s negotiations with Apple over the iPhone 3G have made it past their most difficult stage, according to a China Mobile spokeswoman. China Mobile has been in talks to carry the iPhone since last November, but found Apple’s prior insistence on a revenue sharing agreement to be a sticking point. “Apple is no longer insisting on a revenue-sharing policy, so the biggest hurdle for China Mobile to bring in the iPhone has been cleared, but there are practical issues still to be resolved,” said China Mobile spokeswoman Rainie Lei. Apple executives have prevously said they hoped to have the iPhone available in China sometime in 2008.
Rogers Communications has posted details of its voice and data packages for the iPhone 3G. Four different packages will be available for the iPhone, ranging in price from C$60 to C$115. The C$60 plan will provide 150 weekday minutes, 400MB of data, and 75 text messages, while C$75 brings 300 weekday minutes, 750MB of data, and 100 text messages. A C$100 plan will offer 600 weekday minutes, 1GB of data, and 200 text messages, while the most expensive (C$115) plan will provide 800 weekday minutes, 2GB of data, and 300 texts. All four plans will include unlimited night and weekend calling, unlimited access to Rogers Wireless and Fido Wi-Fi hotspots, as well as Visual Voicemail. In addition to these plans, Rogers will offer two iPhone Value Pack feature bundle add-ons. The C$15 Value Pack will include call display, the WhoCalled feature, 2,500 texts, caller Ring Trax, and 2,500 call forwarding minutes, while the C$20 pack bumps the texts to 10,000, and adds 6pm early evening calling. Rogers will begin selling the iPhone 3G on July 11, with the 8GB model costing C$199 and the 16GB model C$299, both with a three-year commitment.
Apple has released the eighth beta version of its iPhone Software Development Kit (SDK). The new beta release is labeled build 9M2199a, beta 8, and weighs in at 1.25 GB. It is available now as a free download for registered developers from the iPhone Dev Center. Release notes have not yet been posted.
Leading up to the first-generation iPhone release last June, Apple launched an aggressive advertising campaign that was hard for anyone to miss. Attractive, feature-specific TV ads for the handset seeemed to run during every popular program, and Apple found ways to get the device into periodicals of all sorts. It may not have sold a million units in its first month on the market, but the iPhone name was everywhere.
This year, Apple and its carrier partners face a much bigger challenge with the iPhone 3G: drumming up hype and spreading product awareness across not one but 22 countries, all at the same time. While iLounge readers in the United States are fairly familiar with the product already, a number of advertisements have popped up all over the globe in preparation for the initial iPhone 3G launch on July 11. We’ve included some photos of these ads below. (Mexico City photo courtesy of flickr user alenm8816.)
Details of the iPhone’s Japanese keyboard, due to appear in iPhone Software v2.0, have been posted online. According to a TokyoMango posting accompanying the video, users will be able to choose between a QWERTY-style keyboard and a Japanese cell phone-style keyboard, and may then pick from a multi-tap style kana keyboard or a sliding keyboard. According to the post, “Japanese kana letters are organized in groups of five according to a beginning letter and corresponding vowels (a i u e o), so you can either put in the first letter and then hit the same key between 1-5 times to get the right sound (multi-tap), or you can put the first letter in and then tap and slide through to see all five sounds and pick the right one.” Continue reading to view a video claiming to show off the new keyboard in action. [via TUAW]
France Telecom’s Orange unit will sell the upcoming iPhone 3G in France from €149, beginning July 17, the company announced today. As the iPhone’s exclusive carrier in France, Orange said the 8GB iPhone 3G will be sold at €149 with Orange for iPhone, Origami Star (from 3 hours), First, and Jet plans, while the 16GB model will be sold for €199, with the same plans. With other plans (excluding time-cutoff and pay-as-you-go), the 8GB model will run €199 and the 16GB for €249, and the phones will also be offered at those prices through the Orange loyalty upgrade program. In addition, current iPhone owners who purchased their phone before June 12 and are using it with a qualifying Orange plan will be able to buy the 8GB iPhone 3G for €99 through a €100 rebate valid until October 31, as part of the “Change your mobile” program, subject to a 24-month contract. Orange also revealed (PDF link) that there is a fair usage limit on iPhone 3G data of 500MB per month, with current average iPhone data usage at 100MB per month, and noted that over 66% of the French population is covered by its 3G service.
Telefónica SA has received 300,000 pre-registrations to purchase the iPhone 3G in the United Kingdom and Spain, according to a CNNMoney report. A Telefónica spokesperson said customers have been reserving units of the iPhone 3G through the company’s website since it announced it would sell the device earlier this month. Telefónica is the parent company of O2, and operates under the Movistar brand in Spain. It will begin selling the iPhone 3G in Spain, the U.K., and Ireland on July 11, and will offer the handset in the Czech Republic and in twelve Latin American countries later this year.
O2 has posted its iPhone 3G pricing for Pay & Go customers in the United Kingdom. The 8GB iPhone 3G will be available without a monthly contract for £299.99 (around $590), while the 16GB model will run £359.99 (around $708). Both models will include 6 months of unlimited browsing and Wi-Fi, benefits that will cost pay-as-you-go customers £10 per month afterwards. [via Mac Rumors]
Telecom Italia Mobile has announced that it will offer the 8GB iPhone 3G for free with certain subscription packages depending on the tariff plan chosen, while a separate report states that Vodafone is expected to offer similar discounts. In an official press release, TIM said that the initial price of the 8GB iPhone will range from zero to 199 euros, depending on the plan chosen, and that all offers include at least 1GB of data throughput per month. Meanwhile, Macity reports (Translated link) that Vodafone will offer the iPhone 3G at a cost between zero and 199 euros depending both on the model and plan chosen. These discounts mirror earlier announcements from O2 in the United Kingdom and T-Mobile in Germany, which will offer the iPhone 3G for free or for one euro, respectively, with a high-level monthly tariff. Citing anonymous sources, the Macity report goes on to state that Vodafone’s subscription plans will range from 19 euros to 89 euros per month, and that the carrier may not begin offering subscription plans on the iPhone 3G until July 21. TIM and Vodafone had previously announced that they will sell the iPhone 3G unsubsidized for 499 euros (8GB) and 569 euros (16GB).
Curious about the relative sizes, shapes, and rear icon or text locations of the original iPhone and the iPhone 3G? We’ve added a comparison photo to our First Look at the iPhone 3G, showing how the phones compare. Differences in height, width, and text locations are apparent, as are sharp distinctions in texture, while similarities in camera and icon location are also shown. Click here for the full-sized new image and First Look!
Apple has reportedly signed a number of deals that will help ensure wide availability of the iPhone 3G. In Germany, Apple has reached a deal with computer reseller Gravis to sell the iPhone 3G with T-Mobile contracts through its chain of stores. The phones will also be available through T-Mobile shops. As Apple lacks its own retail store in Germany, the deal with Gravis will help widen distribution of the phone in the country. Apple runs only a single store in Italy, and has decided to allow local Apple Premium Resellers to offer the iPhone 3G through their stores, supplementing the sales of Vodafone and Telecom Italia, both of which will offer the handset. The company is expected to take a similar approach in the Netherlands, allowing Apple resellers to sell the iPhone. The Carphone Warehouse became the first third-party reseller of the iPhone when the device launched in the United Kingdom last November.
Japanese iPhone carrier SoftBank has revealed pricing details for the handset. In a statement the company revealed that it will offer the 8GB iPhone 3G for 23,040 yen (around $215), while the 16GB model will be sold for 34,560 yen (around $322), subsidized. According to a Reuters report, the company expects the monthly charges for iPhone customers to be 7,280 yen (around $68), including unlimited data-transmission usage. The iPhone 3G will launch in Japan on July 11.
Apple and O2 are scrambling to ready Apple’s own retail stores in the United Kingdom for the launch of the iPhone 3G, according to a Mobile Today report. The report states that Apple’s retail stores are currently not set up to run the necessary credit checks needed for in-store activation, and that workers are unfamiliar with the process of signing customers up for subscription contracts. “We are currently working closely with Apple to enable them to issue contracts in store. Full details are still to be confirmed,” said an O2 spokeswoman. The spokeswoman went on to confirm that non-subsidized iPhone 3Gs, which will be sold to pay-as-you-go customers, will be available at full price from Apple’s stores, as well as O2 and Carphone Warehouse.
Both Telecom Italia Mobile and Vodafone have revealed their pricing on the iPhone 3G for pre-paid customers. The non-subsidized iPhone will be available through both carriers for 499 euro for the 8GB model (around $777) and 569 euro for the 16GB model (around $886). Unsubsidized pricing for the iPhone 3G remains uncertain in a number of regions, including the U.S., where certain AT&T customers may have to pay the higher price due to contract limitations. In addition, images that briefly appeared on TIM’s site indicate that plans will start at 30 euros per month, although no official announcement regarding service pricing has yet been made by either carrier.
Australian carrier Telstra is set to be announced as the country’s third iPhone 3G service provider, according to a new report. Citing people close to the company, Australian IT reports Telstra chief Sol Trujillo may make an announcement next week, and could launch the device as early as July 22. Sources also indicated that Telstra retail chief David Moffatt and a team of his senior executives were given a preview of the new flagship Apple retail store in Sydney last week. According to the report, previously announced carriers Optus and Vodafone have already seen heavy interest in the device. Vodafone’s pre-registration site has seen around 40,000 visitors a day since launching early last week, while Optus has been forced to stop accepting advance deposits on the phone, as demand is simply too high. “Due to an overwhelming response, we have removed the deposit-taking mechanism from [our] website,” said an Optus spokesperson. Telstra has yet to comment on the story.