Online retailers have begun to flog HTC Google Android phones to Australian consumers, with the first copies having turned up on the Australian website of auction giant eBay site, although Australian telcos don't seem to have prepared for the imports.
The HTC Dream
One Australian vendor priced the phone at over $1000, while those from overseas sellers could in some cases be bought for less money, with the cheapest sitting around US$500.
In many cases, the sellers claim the phone is unlocked, some officially. "It is unlocked officially through T-Mobile. The[y] provided me with the unlock code," one US seller wrote on their eBay page, while an Australian vendor said: "The phone is T-Mobile branded but UNLOCKED with use of turbo-sim card, and can be used with the Australian networks (excluding 3G) including Vodafone, Virgin Mobile, Optus and Telstra."
Although the HTC phone is quad-band GSM at 850/900/1800/1900MHz, it only supports dual-band HSPA/WCDMA at 1700/2100MHz for US devices and solely 2100 MHz for European models, which could preclude its use for 3G on portions of Australian networks.
ZDNet.com.au contacted the carriers themselves to ask if Australians with imported HTC Dream Android phones would be able to use them on their networks.
Telstra did not advise bringing the phone in. "The European version is 2100 only and the US version is 2100/1700. Therefore it will not work on Telstra's Next G network. It will likely work on our 2G or 2100 networks where there is coverage, but has not been tested and Telstra does not recommend this," a spokesperson said.
Optus said it was best to ask the handset manufacturer because it depended on the device. The telco has not tested the phone.
Vodafone said that the phone would only work for 3G where its network had 2100MHz coverage, which was concentrated in metro areas. It had also not tested the device. "This device is exclusive to T-Mobile therefore we don't have access to any test devices," a spokesperson said.
3 Mobile's answer was less certain. "We are still in the process of understanding the full experience on the 3 network," a spokesperson said, adding that the company had not been testing the phone.