Federal Communications Minister Stephen Conroy today said he was gearing up to buy one of Apple's in-demand 3G iPhones, describing the handset as a "sexy gadget".
"The sexy gadget at the moment is the iPhone," he told the audience at the Communications Consumer Dialogue 2008 this morning. "I'm looking forward to getting one."
Despite his enthusiasm, the minister also pointed out that the iPhone, alongside other smartphones, was a potential risk to people's wallets, backing the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's (ACCC) warning yesterday to consumers to watch their data usage or risk getting their fingers burnt.
Data download costs for 3G iPhone users across carriers range from AU$5 to AU$366 per GB, depending on the plans for which consumers have opted, with hefty excess charges.
"I welcome the fact that the ACCC has stepped up to the plate already," Conroy said, adding he didn't want to have to be part of the mop up action and have to explain to the telecommunications industry that customers simply didn't understand the pricing.
"Let's keep the pressure on the ACCC to clear up these issues up front," he continued. "Let's not let the razzle dazzle blind people."
Conroy didn't mention which carrier he was planning on buying the iPhone from. Optus on Friday said it had iPhone stock, although some stores had started taking customers' names due to shortages, and customers were still lining up on Friday at Apple's Sydney retail store.
Both of the other carriers selling the device locally, Vodafone and Telstra, are believed to have iPhone stock, however, customers have indicated a preference for Optus' pricing plans.