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If you're going to buy an iPhone 6s on a plan, buy it now

Plans for the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus will get more expensive with time.

Plans for the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus will get more expensive with time.

If you’ve been planning on buying a new iPhone 6s, but thought you’d skip the queues and wait until later, don’t hold off too long. If telco fees for the latest iPhone mirror pricing for last year’s model, you will save a lot of money buying one before Christmas.

Our team examined the monthly handset repayment costs, i.e.: the amount you pay for your phone on top of your plan fee, and discovered that the iPhone 6 was considerably cheaper when it launched in September 2014 than at any other time throughout the year.

These handset fees steadily increased until a peak in May, nine months after launch. The telco pricing does reflect Apple’s decision to raise the price of all iPhones in March, but even without Apple’s price hike, the trend points to more expensive iPhones for those who buy later in the cycle.


For example, the monthly price of an iPhone 6 Plus 64GB on a Telstra $70 plan skyrocketed from $21 per month on launch day to $40 per month at its most expensive, an increase of $19. Multiply this by 24 months, and Telstra customers who purchased in May will pay $456 more for the same phone on the same plan.

Customers choosing iPhone models with higher storage capacities are hit hardest. Sought after 64GB and 128GB variants of both the regular iPhone 6 and the larger iPhone 6 Plus increased in price at a steady rate, while the price of the cheaper 16GB option is often used for promotional purposes.

This trend towards higher prices later in the year runs counter to general assumptions about consumer electronics. Phones, tablets, TVs and laptops all depreciate quickly and are cheaper over time, not more expensive. But, when you consider what a spectacle the launch of a new iPhone has become, it does make a certain kind of sense.

The iPhone launch day is the biggest event in the consumer technology calendar. People literally camp outside of Apple Stores to be among the first to buy one. The telcos clamour to take part in this frenzy, competing with the lowest prices they can offer, but only for a limited time.

The price increase we find in our analysis suggests that the launch day contract prices are well below what the telcos should be selling these phones for. We might think $5 or $10 per month is a reasonable repayment to make, but when the starting price for the iPhone 6s is AU$1079, it is almost certainly not enough.

So, our advice is simple. If you’re shopping for an iPhone 6s, buy one now. Current plan prices might not seem cheap, but this is probably as good as it gets.

Joseph Hanlon is from comparison website WhistleOut, with which Fairfax Media has a partnership.

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