Which iPhone 5 plan is best?

Charmaine Wong, Yahoo!7 Moneyhound Updated October 2, 2012, 12:01 pm

How to choose an iPhone 5 plan that's right for you, and the best way to get your hands on an iPhone 5 in Australia.

The iPhone 5 is now available in more than 30 countries after a successful launch as the demand for Apple’s latest phone continues to grow.

With the iPhone 5’s popularity, some retailers, including the Apple store, are dealing with supply issues as the demand for the iphone has outstripped the initial supply.

On the Apple website, Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO says this problem isn’t restricted to certain retailers.

"Demand for iPhone 5 has been incredible and we are working hard to get an iPhone 5 into the hands of every customer who wants one as quickly as possible."

Customers of Australian online store Kogan have also experienced these delays as their pre-orders of the iPhone 5 are expected to arrive after a change to the advertised dispatch date.

A comment from a Kogan employee, published by PC World Australia, says: "We're very sorry for the delay. This is due to global supply issues, as with all Apple iPhone 5 orders around the world (including direct from Apple)."

Apple’s latest phone offers a faster A6 processor, a larger display screen than existing iPhone models, a camera that can quickly capture 8-megapixel photos while in low-light conditions as well as Apple’s controversial new maps.

Everyday users have also been enticed by the phone's improvement on basic functions such as new noise cancelling capabilities with three microphones and a longer battery life meaning you can leave that USB cable at home.

If you’re thinking of upgrading to the iPhone 5 there are various plans available to pay off your new toy.

Here’s a guide to help you choose a plan that's best suited to your needs.

Related: iPhone 5 first impressions

How much data storage?

The iPhone 5 is available in 16GB, 32GB or 64GB. These three options vary in price so consider how you will use the phone and how much storage space you currently use to decide which option is best for you.

For example, 1000 photos will use about 10GB and movies from iTunes are about 1.2GB each. If you plan to use your iPhone 5 as a storage device for movies, photos, or an extensive music collection, then it would be best to go for the 32GB or 64GB model.

But if you’re generally using your phone for calls, texts and surfing the internet (via apps or otherwise) then the 16GB will suffice. It can be tempting to ‘upgrade’ to the next amount of data storage offered but remember that more storage space capacity will cost more.

What’s available?

Australia’s major phone providers are taking orders for the iPhone 5 but many have already sold out of their initial supply.

Vodafone, Virgin Mobile and Telstra do not currently have any iphone 5s left in stock. However, those interested in purchasing the iPhone 5 are able to register online to be notified when the phone becomes available again.

Optus is currently promising a wait time of 7 – 10 business days for iPhone 5 orders.

Related: Apple gets record 2 million iPhone 5 orders

Buy the iPhone 5 online

If you’re keen to get your hands on the iPhone 5, you can order one online with most phone providers.

Registering online for the new iPhone means you will be added to a list of interested buyers for the latest model.

Shipping for your new phone will vary according to the model you choose and your provider. For example, Telstra and Vodafone offer free delivery for the iPhone5 in Australia if you buy online.

Which contract plan is best?

There are a number of contract plans available if you’re looking to get an iPhone 5 with a new 24 month contract plan.

While the iPhone can be costly, be wary of simply trying to offset this by going for the cheapest plan available before you compare all iPhone 5 plans. For example, Vodafone’s plans are generally cheaper compared to the other telcos but bare in mind that the Vodafone network will not be 4G compatible until 2013. If you’re interested in using 4G as soon as possible, you will have to look at the other providers.

As they say, you get what you pay for – so it’s no surprise that the most expensive plans also have better coverage. Telstra has prided itself on superior coverage and its early adoption of the 4G network. However, pre-orders are sold out so you will have to wait and join the queue by registering online.

If you’re a heavy data user Virgin may be the best for you. Virgin is the only one of the main providers that offers plans with 3GB of data, with costs ranging from $65 to $70.

Optus has one of the largest variety of plans on offer, which can make it easy to find one that suits your phone usage. It has only a partial 4G network available but offers unlimited access to Facebook and Twitter with some plans.

Moneyhound compares the iPhone 5 plans that are currently being made public from the top telcos at the link below. You can put your name down for pre-orders now or you can visit this link again in a week or a months time when there is more stock in Australia to meet the demand and find a contract plan that suits your usage requirements:

Compare now: Compare contract plans and prices for the iPhone 5 now

Buying outright

Buying any phone outright can be expensive in the short-term. Buying it from the Apple store will set you back $799 for the 16GB, $899 for the 32GB, and $999 for the 64GB.

If you like to pick and choose between mobile phone plans regularly, purchasing an unlocked iPhone 5 will give you the freedom of not being locked into a minimum term contract, but you can't get insurance with your plan in case you lose your new phone. Due to the high demand of the iPhone 5 there are limited options available if you would like to purchase your new phone outright.

The iPhone 5 is tempting with all the new bells and whistles of new technology. But make sure you do your research to find the best plan in the market that suits your usage habits.

Related: What to do with your old mobile phone?

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