IT’S OFFICIAL: Telstra to bring iPhone to Australia on July 11th

Telstra has finally joined the group of official Australian iPhone sellers by announcing they’ll also be bringing the iPhone to market on July 11th – and in a first (not often seen from Telstra) they’ve actually announced some pricing detail too.

The basic Next G iPhone 3G plans start at $30/month with an upfront cost of $279 for the 8GB model and $399 for the 16GB model. On a more expensive $80/month the 8GB iPhone is free and on a $100/month plan the 16GB iPhone is free.

It’s not clear from the press release (we’ve placed a call to Telstra) how much talk time SMS or data is included with any of the plans however Telstra has said that all plans include free Wi-Fi access at Telstra hotspots and require a 24-month contract.

While Vodafone and Optus still haven’t announced iPhone pricing Telstra’s pricing announcement sets the pricing benchmark and means the other telcos won’t offer the iPhone for any more than $279 and $399 (after all which telco is ever more expensive than Telstra?) The announcement also comes as a substantial blow to Optus and Vodafone who must have been hoping to win customers away from Telstra with the lure of the iPhone.

The Telstra Next G Network is the largest in Australia and covers more than 99 percent of the population. It’s also the fastest 3G network with peak network download speeds of 14.4Mbps (though this is an irrelevant number for iPhone 3G users as Apple has apparently capped the maximum HSDPA data speeds to 1.4Mbps.)