Mobile phones have evolved from a device for keeping in touch while out of the office to a must-have tool for running your life. A mobile phone costs anywhere between $100 and $1500, depending on the features and functions of the handset. A standard mobile phone on a GSM plan will give voice calls, voice mail, SMS and a contact list, while a high-end GSM phone with GPRS capability can provide MMS, email, a digital camera, internet and MP3 playback in addition to standard call features.
The digital mobile network is primarily a GSM network (Telstra does have a CDMA network for regional and rural coverage) that supports voice and data transfer at speeds of up to 56Kbps, but typically at 9.6kbps. This is intended as a buying guide for GSM mobile handsets, whether they're part of a contract or bought independently of a network. It doesn't cover smart phones or 3G phones. See separate buying guides for more information on these models.
Choosing a service provider
The choice of service provider will determine network services, coverage, plans, call costs and global roaming agreements among other things. In Australia, there are three GSM phone companies with their own networks - Optus, Telstra and Vodafone. Telstra also has a CDMA network. On top of this, there are a multitude of other companies that act as resellers to the customer. Whether it's a network or reseller, check the network coverage when considering signing up to a plan. For coverage maps, see: