Optus has always been the best value option when it comes to getting yourself an iPhone - it was just a question of whether the network could handle the extra load the phone put on it. But that value changed today when the Telco took away the ability to pay off the handset over the life of your contract for all plans under $79 a month.
Starting today, if you want an iPhone on an Optus $19, $29, $49 or $59 cap plan, you will have to fork out an upfront fee for the phone. On $79 plans and above, you'll still get the option of monthly handset repayments.
The change only affects iPhones, not other smartphones, and includes the 8GB iPhone 3GS. The charge will appear on new customers' first invoice.
We're not sure why Optus have made this change, but given that it only includes Apple handsets, it seems like a subtle way to get people to move away from the Apple ecosystem. Given that Optus can either customise other smartphone platforms or at least add their own widgets to the device, as well as receive alternative streams of revenue through apps or entertainment content, pushing customers to Android or even WP7 would be better for their bottom line.
But that's just speculation. The real question now is whether this will push people away from Optus as the iPhone pusher of choice?