by Tim McIntyre
THE iPhone 8 has arrived, creating plenty of buzz among consumers, but before you join the queue, it is important to think about the most affordable way to get your hands on the new model.
Comparison website Finder.com.au has crunched the numbers to see what the best value plan available is for a standard 64GB iPhone 8. All the best plans offered unlimited texts and calls, meaning data allowance was the key difference.
"Ultimately, buying the iPhone 8 outright and pairing it with a prepaid SIM is the cheapest, but it means you'll have to cough up $1079 for the entry level phone upfront, as well as self-manage your usage and keep an eye out for better plans," Alex Kidman, Finder.com.au tech spokesman, said.
"It's a great option if you're organised because you can save a lot and switch to take advantage of temporary deals from different telcos.
"The downside is you'll miss out on the perks the big contract providers offer, such as access to streaming services or cheaper movie tickets."
For those who would prefer a plan, the cheapest 24 month deal uncovered by the analysis was from Virgin Mobile, with $69 per month and a minimum total cost of $1656 over the two years. However, the 2GB data allowance may prove an issue.
"Bear in mind that 2GB per month isn't typically enough data for the average user," Mr Kidman said. "If you often use social media and occasionally watch videos, you're better off going for a contract with a bigger data allowance, say 5GB or 6GB … excess data fees end up more expensive."
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Vodafone's Red Phone plan was the next cheapest of the 2GB data deals, at $74.95 a month, or $1798.80 in total; while Optus charged $1800 in total over two years, with just 1GB of data, for its My Plan Plus.
"Vodafone's contracts are quite different to other carriers because the phone contract sits separate to the plan, which means you get flexibility to leave, but no particular handset discounts at higher plan rates," Mr Kidman said. "Bear in mind also that if you do drop your Vodafone contract, you've got to pay out the rest of the handset costs then and there."
Overall, the best value plan came from Virgin Mobile's 5GB deal, at $79 per month and $1896 over 24 months.
The most expensive was Telstra's Go Mobile Premium plan, which cost $199 per month and $4776 over 24 months, but with 100GB of data allowance, meaning it may be of value to seriously heavy data users.
A separate Canstar Blue analysis suggested Telstra and Optus both still rated a mention because of their inclusions.
"Starting prices with Optus and Telstra are a little higher, but these two telco giants are likely the best pick if you want bags full of entertainment features," the report said.
Australian telco Amaysim offers SIM-only plans and commercial director Maik Retzlaff believes consumers choosing two-year contracts need to be mindful of their data needs.
"Data usage is continually increasing and contract inclusions can be quickly outdated, so it pays to keep your options open," he said. "Whatever you decide, do the maths and pick what's right for you."