Vodafone today announced pricing plans for the upcoming BlackBerry Storm, ahead of its launch on 1 December. "Today we announce that we’re bringing the BlackBerry Storm to Australia with a sensational $0 offer with unlimited BlackBerry e-mail and Internet usage", Russell Hewitt, Vodafone Australia's CEO, said.
The telco will offer five different plans based on a 24-month contract. Plans start at $69 per month with $340 of included talk and SMS credit, with the most expensive plan costing users $149 per month with $2000 of included text and voice credit. The phone, which is valued at $899, will be offered for $0 under each plan.
Each plan also includes an unlimited BlackBerry e-mail and Internet data plan. As long as the included BlackBerry browser is used, users won't be charged for individual files and Web sites below 3MB. All use over 3MB for individual files and videos, or any use of a third party Web browser, is not covered under the cap and will be charged at $AU0.50 per MB. Vodafone Australia also offers a separate 100MB data use plan price.
"Available exclusively through Vodafone, the BlackBerry Storm features a new clickable touch screen that will redefine expectations on performance from a touch-screen handset and [the Storm will] become an instant hit with customers with its sexy design and ease of use", Hewitt said.
Users will have access to Vodafone-specific applications and services on the BlackBerry Storm, including Vodafone MusicStation and Vodafone Compass. Users will also have access to the BlackBerry Application Centre, an application store similar to the iPhone’s App Store.
The BlackBerry Storm is the first phone from Research in Motion (RIM) to include a full touch screen, breaking from the BlackBerry tradition of a physical QWERTY keyboard. The Storm is being marketed to consumers rather than only being a business phone, according to RIM's Danny Bolduc. "With its robust communications capabilities, rich multimedia features and stylish design, the BlackBerry Storm helps customers make the most of their time with a chic and lifestyle-friendly smartphone."
The BlackBerry Storm is being heralded by some as an iPhone killer, and Vodafone’s pricing is competitive with the telco's own iPhone 3G plans. Its iPhone 3G plans do not offer unlimited data usage, though unlike the Blackberry Storm the iPhone has integrated Wi-Fi which can be used for data instead of its 3G radio.