The pricing of the PlayStation Vita has raised some eyebrows. Most expected the Wi-Fi enabled version to retail at $349.95, but $449.95 for the 3G Vita? That's a bit too much to take for some. As a result you may find yourself tempted to import a 3G unit from overseas, but before you do, you might want to double check a few things.
Here are a few potential pitfalls you may want to be aware of. Bear in mind this is just some semi-informed guess work. We know that AT&T is partnering with Sony for Vita in the US, but we don't yet have any full information with regards to how that will work precisely.
AT&T could simply lock the Vita If this is the case, you'll simply have to wait (and hope) for a jailbreak. There's no reason that a GSM locked Vita shouldn't work over WiFi in the meantime, but why spend money on 3G and not be able to use it? If this is the case, you might just want to play it safe with the Wifi version.
There could be frequency problems The official FAQ on the Vita is annoyingly vague in this respect; it simply says that it supports "Mobile network connectivity (3G/Wi-Fi model only) 3G modem (data communication): HSDPA/HSUPA, GSM". There's a clue in the fact that AT&T is the US data partner, though; AT&T's frequency for 3G in the states is on the 850MHz band. That's fine for Telstra customers, and passable for Vodafone ones if you're within range of a Vodafone 850Mhz tower, but it'd lock out Optus customers, as it uses 900Mhz for its 3G. That's assuming it's not a quad-band device, but it's worth bearing in mind if the US models are indeed custom chipped. If it's a quad-band device then the frequency issues are null and void to an extent.
You'll need to get the settings right Still keen? Good on you! The other thing you'll need are your carrier's APN settings. Again, there's nothing clear here (and won't be until the Vita launches), but in order to actually get sweet, sweet 3G data flowing, you'll need the access point name for your carrier as well as any other required login details. These vary by carrier and whether you're throwing in a prepaid or postpaid SIM; your best bet here is to google "Australian APN details" or similar when you get your Vita and follow through the setup process. It's possible the Vita may pick up the correct details from the SIM, but if you can't get data flowing, it's worth checking that the APN details are correct, and that it's not desperately trying to contact AT&T's servers.
Ultimately, this is an issue we'll know more about closer to the release of the Vita, but for now it's probably worth being aware of the various issues that arise when importing a 3G enabled device from the US. If you're importing, our recommendation is to play it safe with the Wifi version - but then, you'll get the most bang for your buck by importing a 3G unit.
It's a tough choice - but stay informed, and wait until you're absolutely sure your 3G enabled PS Vita will work in Australia.