Where can Australians buy the iPhone?

Summary:A lack of information on the part of mobile carriers, third-party resellers and Apple itself has left the Australian public in the dark when it comes to knowing exactly where it can buy the much-anticipated iPhone 3G handset when it launches Friday morning.

A lack of information on the part of mobile carriers, third-party resellers and Apple itself has left the Australian public in the dark when it comes to knowing exactly where it can buy the much-anticipated iPhone 3G handset when it launches Friday morning.

Independent mobile phone retailer Allphones Group has announced most of its stores will also be selling Apple's 3G iPhone from tomorrow morning. Customers who have pre-registered with Optus will be able to buy the phone on an Optus plan, but iPhones on Vodafone plans can be had without pre-registering.

A spokesman for the group told ZDNet.com.au Allphones would have iPhone stock in 95 to 100 of its 163 stores nationwide.

Telstra, the nation's largest telco, will sell the Apple handset in just 15 of its stores nationwide, including only one store in Sydney, its flagship T-Life outlet.

Optus is holding a midnight launch in its flagship George Street store in Sydney, but has not said exactly how many stores will ship the iPhone. Instead, the SingTel subsidiary has posted a tool on its website for customers to find local stores with iPhone stocks.

Some other Optus resellers such as Strathfield and Telechoice are also reported to be offering the iPhone in some stores.

A Vodafone spokeswoman told ZDNet.com.au the company would sell the iPhone in about 128 stores nationally, but could not say whether that included resellers.

One of the most debated aspects of the iPhone launch tomorrow morning is whether Apple will sell the iPhone through its own Sydney store and its network of retailers. The company has not said whether the iPhone will retail through the Sydney store, and has not responded to repeated requests for comment.

However, sources in the telecommunications industry believe Apple will sell the iPhone through the store, although some say the company will give the mobile carriers a head start before doing so.

Robin Simpson, a research director with analyst firm Gartner, said Apple probably would sell the iPhone through its Sydney store, because that was what the company was doing globally.

Next Byte, a nationwide chain of Apple resale stores, has not announced any plans to sell the iPhone, and staff are telling customers they will not offer the handset tomorrow morning, although they may do in future.

Topics: Apple, iPhone, Optus, Telcos, Telstra

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