Samsung Galaxy S III 4G users who have purchased their phones outright are not able to utilise the handset’s 4G capabilities with Optus.
Despite launching its consumer 4G network in early September to coincide with the debut and exclusive partnership with the Galaxy S III 4G, Optus is only offering 4G plans to users who choose to bundle the smartphone with one of its plans.
Optus confirmed to CRN customers who purchase a Galaxy S III 4G outright outside of Optus will not be able to access its 4G network. It currently has no BYO or pre-paid plans available to outright Galaxy S III 4G owners.
But it’s not only those who go outside Optus for an S III 4G who can’t access the 4G network.
Network integrator ICT Networks is an Optus SMB customer and currently deploys around 12 handsets and 15 data cards internally. Its policy is not to enter bundled plans and instead always purchases handsets outright.
This policy has suited the company fine until two weeks ago, when CEO Robert Kingma purchased both a Samsung Galaxy S III 4G and iPhone 5.
Kingma bought the Galaxy S III 4G outright from Optus for $831. He signed up to a 12 month plan, the same $99 plan the company’s other handsets are signed on to.
Three days later, after receiving no 4G coverage in Sydney, a city covered by Optus’ 4G network, he went back Optus to be told he wouldn’t be able to access 4G coverage.
“They sold my business the handset outright, but neglected to mention it wouldn’t have the 4G capability,” Kingma said.
“I’ve spoken to the store, to Samsung, to Optus customer service, and all they could suggest was I give my phone to a loved one and enter into a new, bundled, two year plan.”
The reseller had a similar issue with its new iPhone 5. After purchasing the smartphone outright from Apple, Kingma went to Optus for a microSIM and a new plan and was told there was no 4G plan available.
“There’s a whole bunch of people who are buying their phones from Apple because they want an unlocked phone, but when they go to Optus they can’t put it on air on 4G,” Kingma said. “We’re signed up to a 12 month plan and there’s pretty much nothing we can do.”
Optus said Kingma had been given the wrong information and there were BYO 4G plans available for outright-purchased iPhone 5s. It confirmed it would look into the issue.
Optus’ 4G consumer network was launched in early September and covers Sydney, Perth and Newcastle. Its 4G business network was launched in July.
Update 12:24pm 10/10/2012: Optus has told CRN it will launch BYO plans for the 4G Galaxy S III in the next few months.