Optus ups price of iPhones, Samsung Galaxy

SINGTEL-Optus has increased the price of Apple iPhones and Samsung Galaxy smartphones for new customers, according to research from Goldman Sachs.

The latest move means new Optus customers on a $50-a-month plan must pay $696 during the life of their contract to buy a 32-gigabyte Apple iPhone — Optus now contributes about $200 less to the cost of the phone than it did in April 2010.

Telecommunications companies have long attracted customers by giving them expensive smartphones that are paid off over the life of a 12 to 24-month contract.

They have also traditionally paid for a large chunk of the smartphone’s cost to avoid slugging consumers with hefty monthly fees .

But Optus and other telcos have been pushing up the price for popular devices to boost profitability, Goldman Sachs research analyst Raymond Tong said.

“Optus has cut handset subsidies across its post-paid mobile plans [and] raised handset pricing in the past week,” he said.