Telstra and Optus have beefed up their 4G push with the launch of an own-brand smartphone and pre-paid services, respectively.
Telstra yesterday revealed it will debut the first pre-paid 4G smartphone in Australia from November 27. The smartphone is manufactured by ZTE and will be Telstra-branded. The Telstra Frontier 4G is an Android 4.0 handset with a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, 5-megapixel camera and 4indisplay. It will sell for $299.
Rival Optus is yet to offer any in-house 4G handsets. At the time of writing, the cheapest unlocked 4G smartphone was the LG P936 Optimus True HD, available for $389 on Mobicity.
Optus also yesterday announced the availability of pre-paid social plans for its 4G network. The telco ruffled a few feathers recently when it denied BYO Galaxy S III customers access to its 4G network, but yesterday said it would offer customers the option of purchasing pre-paid plans for BYO handsets.
The carrier still only offers BYO 4G post-paid plans for those with an Apple iPhone 5.
The new pre-paid plans are identical to Optus’ 3G offerings. All include unlimited voice calls to Optus mobiles, unlimited SMS to Australian mobiles, and unlimited mobile access to Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn, eBay and Foursquare.
The cheapest recharge, $30, includes up to 250 voice minutes, $30 of credit and 500MB of data. There are also $40, $50, $70 and $100 recharges, the latter of which comes with up to 900 included voice minutes, $100 of credit and 5GB of data. All of the recharges expire after 28 days.
On the face of it, Optus’ new 4G prepaid social plans compare favourably with Telstra’s. Optus’ plans offer more data, and the lower amount of credit is balanced by the inclusion of unlimited calls to Optus mobiles and unlimited SMS (although Telstra’s prepaid plans include free talk and text every night to standard Australian numbers).
However, Telstra is offer ing a 'browse plus pack' - meaning the 400MB of data that comes with the $30 Telstra prepaid encore recharge can be boosted to 1.3GB once you buy the $20 and $10 browse plus packs with the included $30 credit.