Two of the iPhone’s three local carriers are already taking pre-registrations to be first in line for the new iPhone 3G S when it lands in two weeks’ time.
Optus and Vodafone have both issued identikit (and no doubt Apple-approved) press statements to advise that each will launch â€œthe iPhone 3G S the fastest most powerful iPhone yet in Australia on 26th June 2009â€. Telstra will also carry the iPhone 3G S but the telco has yet to say ‘Boo’ about it.
Part of the iPhone 3G S’ impact has already been felt in a drop in price for each carriers’ cheapest ‘free iPhone’ plans to $59 per month for an 8GB model. Optus has the better of the two with 500MB of data compared to just 200MB under Vodafone; both deals include $350 of talk and text.
Because the iPhone 3G S slots in above the iPhone 3G as Apple’s new flagship iPhone rather than replacing the 3G model carriers can reposition the 3G as a more affordable mid-market offering.
After the iPhone 3G S has gone on sale there could be further reductions in iPhone 3G pricing to firm up each carrier’s dual handset ‘better-best’ strategy.
Plans for the iPhone 3G S will probably be revealed next week and no doubt there’ll be once again be iPhone fans queueing up outside the stores early on a mid-winter morning.
But the most eagerly-awaited information will be what deals each telco will offer iPhone 3G customers to upgrade to the shiny new 3G S. Almost all current iPhone customers inked a 24 month contract but are barely halfway through that period and carriers will be eager to combine an upgrade to the 3G S with adding another 12 months to the contract thus locking customers in until mid-2011 at the earliest.
Such upgrades will also see the iPhone spread even further through the market as iPhone 3G S owners hand down their 3G model to another member of the family or contract permitting on-sell it to someone else.
This is a relatively new situation for the telcos because to date there have been few phones which engendered such popularity and loyalty to make upgrading from one model to the next into what could become an annual rite.