Mobile telcos Telstra and VHA today confirmed they will launch Apple's new iPhone when the device hits Australia in July, but Optus has not yet flagged its own interest in the device.
"Vodafone and 3 will launch iPhone 4, the thinnest smartphone in the world with the highest resolution display ever built into a phone, in Australia in the coming weeks," a VHA spokesperson said. Telstra issued a similar statement, but described the time frame as "by the end of July".
The VHA spokesperson said more information on pricing and tariff plans would be available on the websites of its two mobile brands, Vodafone and 3, closer to the date.
Optus issued a brief statement in the name of Austin R. Bryan, its consumer marketing director. "We look forward to providing lots of information to new and existing Optus customers on today's announcement in the near future," he said.
Vodafone Australia's official Twitter account had this morning put the iPhone 4 launch time frame in Australia at September, but the telco later clarified that was a mistake.
Asked about the fact that not all telcos had confirmed iPhone 4 plans, Ovum analyst Nathan Burley said he "very much" doubted that Apple would go back to its initial strategy of restricting which telcos could sell the device.
When the iPhone first launched in Australia two years ago, 3 Mobile (separate from Vodafone at that time) was not able to sell the handset. But it appears to have gained access to it through the Vodafone merger.
"There may be slight differences in timing as to when the operators get the devices or get large shipments of it," Burley said, but he added that Apple's business model had shifted to providing the iPhone through multiple partners.
When the iPhone first launched in Australia, Optus captured the lion's share of the iPhone market, but the analyst said since late 2009 Telstra had been much more aggressive in the space, offering cash-back subsidies on the handset and pushing the iPhone out to small business and enterprise customers.
"It clearly understands that it's a very strong proposition that Apple offers," he said. Telstra has also pushed hard into the growing market for handsets based on Google's Android platform, with Burley particularly noting the telco's push regarding its flagship HTC Desire handset.
However, he also noted that the iPhone 4 supported the 900MHz spectrum used by Optus and Vodafone in its growing mobile networks outside metropolitan areas, which previous models have not. The pair use the 2100MHz spectrum for most of their networks, which previous iPhone models do support. The additional support has the potential to see some customers who can only access the 900MHz pick up iPhones.