update This morning, HTC launched the first Android phone to come to Australia: HTC Dream, otherwise known as G1. It will be available from Optus on 16 February, from $59 a month.
Optus, HTC and Google: a partnership
(Credit: Suzanne Tindal/ZDNet.com.au)
The Sydney launch showcased the hyped phone this morning, bringing an end to months of speculation on when Australia would see the Android and which carrier would be the one to offer it.
Optus has, as expected, been the first carrier to jump on the device as the founding partner.
There will be four Optus plans. The cheapest option will be the "yes" $59 internet cap with $350 included calls and texts as well as 500MB data. There is an additional handset charge of $51 per month for a 12-month contract and $15 per month for a 24-month contract.
The next step up is the "yes" $79 internet cap with $550 included calls and unlimited texts as well as 700MB data. The handset fees for 12- and 24-month contracts are $49 and $13 per month respectively.
The $99 "timeless" plan only includes unlimited calls and texts. Users need to pay $14.95 per month for a mobile internet pack of 1.5GB. Handset fees for 12- and 24-month contracts come out at $45 and $9 per month respectively.
The most premium plan for the Android phone is the $129 "timeless" internet plan with unlimited calls and texts and 3GB mobile data included. The additional cost for the handset for 12- and 24-month contracts are $39 and $3 per month respectively.
Customers won't be able to buy the phone from Optus and migrate it to other networks, unless they are willing to enter a contract to do so. "We won't be selling the phone outright being first in the market," Optus acting MD consumer Michael Smith told gathered journalists. The phone will, however, not be locked to Optus once obtained on the contract.
Optus won't be holding its exclusivity for a specified amount of time, according to HTC Anthony Petts, sales and marketing director ANZ, with other operators able to bring out the phone. "It is an open scenario," he said.
Optus' involvement had long been expected after sources pointed the finger at the carrier and ZDNet.com.au received documents that suggested the Optus team was learning up on the Dream.
The handset was released in the US months ago with carrier T-Mobile. Some Australians were unable to wait for the device to come out in Australia, but secured one on eBay.
There have been hints that Vodafone Australia could also be considering plans to support an Android-based device, although potentially a later model than the Dream.
The Kogan Agora, which had been set to become the first Australian Android phone, was delayed indefinitely after a problem with the device's screen size.
More details to follow.