Optus to sell the iPhone from the end of June
After months of speculation an industry insider (who has asked to remain anonymous) has confirmed to CNET.com.au that Optus will be one of several Australian mobile service providers to be selling Apple's iPhone, with sales and service commencing in the last week of June.
Optus plans to make the announcement mid-May ahead of Apple's Worldwide Developer's Conference on June 9 in San Francisco where Apple CEO Steve Jobs is tipped to launch the next generation of iPhone.
While this source could not confirm a 3G version of the popular handset, they did suggest that Optus was expecting the upgraded models.
There remains further speculation as to which of the remaining Australian carriers will also licence the sale of the iPhone. With the first generation of the iPhone operating on the EDGE mobile network, the obvious choice had been Telstra as it's the only carrier with the necessary back-end technology.
The possibility of a 3G iPhone opens the door for the remaining carriers, who all provide a 3G service, and may in fact exclude Telstra depending on the latest iPhone model's hardware specifications. For the iPhone to operate on Telstra's Next G network it would need to support the 850MHz frequency, not just the 2100MHz more common in Australia, as well as in Europe and parts of Asia.
It has also been rumoured that Apple may intend to sell the iPhone directly through Apple stores and resellers, and that these phones would be unlocked. In the US CNET.com reports that the current iPhone carrier AT&T is planning a US$200 price drop on the next generation iPhone, subsidising the cost of the handset to prepare for the prospect of competing directly with Apple.