Thinking About Importing A 3G PlayStation Vita Into Australia? Read This First...

The pricing of the PlayStation Vita has raised some eyebrows. Most expected the Wifi enabled version to retail at $349.95, but $449.95 for the 3G Vita? That's a bit too much to take for some. As a result you may find yourself tempted to import a 3G unit from overseas, but before you do, you might want to double check a few things.

Here are a few potential pitfalls you may want to be aware of. Bear in mind this is just some semi-informed guess work. We know that AT&T is partnering with Sony for Vita in the US, but we don't yet have any full information with regards to how that will work precisely.

AT&T could simply lock the Vita If this is the case, you'll simply have to wait (and hope) for a jailbreak. There's no reason that a GSM locked Vita shouldn't work over WiFi in the meantime, but why spend money on 3G and not be able to use it? If this is the case, you might just want to play it safe with the Wifi version.

There could be frequency problems The official FAQ on the Vita is annoyingly vague in this respect; it simply says that it supports "Mobile network connectivity (3G/Wi-Fi model only) 3G modem (data communication): HSDPA/HSUPA, GSM". There's a clue in the fact that AT&T is the US data partner, though; AT&T's frequency for 3G in the states is on the 850MHz band. That's fine for Telstra customers, and passable for Vodafone ones if you're within range of a Vodafone 850Mhz tower, but it'd lock out Optus customers, as it uses 900Mhz for its 3G. That's assuming it's not a quad-band device, but it's worth bearing in mind if the US models are indeed custom chipped. If it's a quad-band device then the frequency issues are null and void to an extent.

You'll need to get the settings right Still keen? Good on you! The other thing you'll need are your carrier's APN settings. Again, there's nothing clear here (and won't be until the Vita launches), but in order to actually get sweet, sweet 3G data flowing, you'll need the access point name for your carrier as well as any other required login details. These vary by carrier and whether you're throwing in a prepaid or postpaid SIM; your best bet here is to google "Australian APN details" or similar when you get your Vita and follow through the setup process. It's possible the Vita may pick up the correct details from the SIM, but if you can't get data flowing, it's worth checking that the APN details are correct, and that it's not desperately trying to contact AT&T's servers.

Ultimately, this is an issue we'll know more about closer to the release of the Vita, but for now it's probably worth being aware of the various issues that arise when importing a 3G enabled device from the US. If you're importing, our recommendation is to play it safe with the Wifi version - but then, you'll get the most bang for your buck by importing a 3G unit.

It's a tough choice - but stay informed, and wait until you're absolutely sure your 3G enabled PS Vita will work in Australia.


Comments

    I just want it for....*gasp* games. 3G is the least of my worries... i have a phone for that. Still day 1 import for me.

      Jap import? Where are you planning on getting it from? I imagine it is going to be next to impossible to get from Japan - unless you want to play inflated prices.

        In Japan right now, and providing you're willing to pre-order one now it shouldn't be too hard to get one, but day 1 release, it's going to be ape shit.

      Nailed it. Couldn't are less about the other functions,I really only want to play games on it.

    i say wait at least a few months before taking this road.

    Simple, import the Wi-Fi one and get or use your current USB Dongle, Phone, Hotspot or Laptop to connect to the internet.

    3G version can get stuffed.

      This.

      3G is just an ongoing cost anyway, and ongoing costs are terrible for games consoles. Unless you're an MMO addict, it's just not that plausable.

    Hmm - The US use 120 volt mains where as Australia uses 240 volt mains. Does that mean that if I import one I will also need to use a step down transformer?
    I once blew up new cordless headphones imported from the US before even having a chance to use them by making this mistake.

      Shouldnt be a problem. I have a laptop bought from the US that I just plug into the wall without a step down. It is only charging a battery so shouldn't make a difference what the voltage is.

        The reason laptops work this way is because they have a transformer in the powerpack brick. Not sure what the Vita will have, but its totally worth doing a bit of checking on the adaptor to see if it says 110-240V somewhere on it!

          If it can be charged by USB all your problem's are gone anyways.

          And i'd be surprised if it's not able to be charged by USB.

        So far all the VITA's I've seen are powered by a PSP power supply, like the GO it also features charging over (sony unque)USB.
        Power should't be an issue.

      Most small devices that drastically step down AC power are 120/240V compatible.
      Even if not though, you should expect a USB charge cable to become available.

        What this guy said. All PSP's previously released along with the PS2 slim & some PS3 models from the US have been multivolt.

      I own an US launch PSP Phat. Its powerbrick is 110~240 and has been working happily in Oz since I moved.

    I think 3G model is pointless in the first place, even to import. Just tether from your smartphone. If your phone has the feature, it acts as a wireless spot just as a wireless router would. Better than having two bills and an extra cap you probably won't even use all that much.

      Agreed. Australia plans are very generous with the download limits. A $49 plan with Vodafone already gets you a 2gb plan, plus another 2gb with the free USB 3g dongle they give you.

      In any case though, mobile service in the outer suburbs is rubbish, and you can only get the full benefits of 3g if you live close to the CBD.

    The 3G version really isn't on my radar either, but the Japanese launch will be able to tell us if the unit is locked to the partnered carrier.

    From that, the assumption would be the same for the US.

    Ultimately, until AU carriers are confirmed and detailed, the 3G option shouldn't really be considered for import at all.

      I'm pretty sure they've already said that the Japanese one will be locked to NTT DoCoMo (and on pretty terrible pricing plans too).

    So, "there's no reason not to import" is what I hear. I'll be picking one up in Japan and enjoying my stupid touch screen games.

    Hopefully they make some games that don't use the touch screen. Otherwise this is yet another device for playing Super Famicom games on the go.

    I would definately hold off. the limited range of games for the psp is the key evidence here. in comparison to other platforms and smart phones there just wont be the same industry support for the vita. its a dying platform ultimately.

    the only way sony can really bring it to the forefront of portable gaming again is to have some kind of killer feature, and no wifi/3g with internal storage only just aint going to cut it.

    the way I see it, is that this version is the on life support and it will only be a matter of time before it finally dies. I havent touched my psp in over a year now. the games that came out were crap (when they did actually come out) and pretty much all the games released on the psp also came out on all the other major platforms.

    Do we have any idea on data costs and umetered content yet?

    Would that just be something like bigpond wireless?

    Cheers for the heads up, i'll stick to my n-gage

    AusDroid has all the APN's you need:
    http://ausdroid.net/apns/

    I'm in no rush. Will get it eventually, but already have been burned by too many console price drops (PS3 and 3DS, and no, the pack did not make it up for me). Console prices used to be more stable. Now, I'll wait for the inevitable drop.

    I was only ever going to get a wi-fi version anyway.

    don't forget that the X and O will work in reverse on the Japanese version. Could be a bother if you're not used to it.

      Yeah, why is that anyway? I downloaded the MGS demo from the (Aus) PS Store and it was reveresed..

        IIRC, The convention in Japan is that O means OK/Enter while X means Cancel (when you are in menus and dialogs). I'd know as that's how it works on my copy of Final Fantasy VII.

        I suppose when you think about it, it makes some kind of sense. The signs in the lecture theateres here at uni have pictures of mobiles with a cross over them telling you not to use them inside. Maybe that's what gave them the idea for what the O and X buttons do.

          http://www.slashgear.com/playstation-controller-buttons-explained-by-the-man-who-designed-them-2699063/

      They will in the menus, not necessarily the games - a lot of devs hard code it rather than querying the system, at least on the PS3.

      Personally I prefer it the Japanese way, but I have a JP PS3 and a hacked PSP that has it swapped.

    Japanese PSP had english options and ran games from any region. I know Vita is region free but hopefully it has english options to.

    I would be surprised if the European Vita didn't support 900MHz operation. That said, I also wouldn't be surprised if they end up supporting all of 850, 900 and 2100 MHz operation.

      I would be absolutely stunned if they were making 3G models on different frequencies for different areas. It's much cheaper for them to make one device that can run anywhere, then lock it to specific carriers in software.

    DAY ONE IMPORT! I'll just get the WIFI model, my phone has WIFI hot spot... that doesn't throttle to a lousy 20MB. I'll get it for around $AU280 shipped. I will not support local distributers that rob me blind.

    I have a Japanese PSP, and running local, euro or US games on it respects the X to confirm layout...

    I was looking forward to the PS Vita so badly, first time I'd have a hand held console since I was a child. But after these prices, that wish can go down the damned drain.

    Yet the PS Vita is being sold in America for $250-$275, I hate Australia.

    I am going to be in Japan early January and am keen to pick up a wifi vita. The X and O swapped doesn't bother me as long as their is english menus. WIth the current exchange rate I can pick it up for around $315AUD. Am I likely to be able to walk into a shop and buy 1 for RRP a month after release? or previously do releases normally sell out in Japan and not get stock for a while after? Only in the country for 3 weeks.

    My interest in the 3G model dried up when I learned you can't use to 3G model to make phone calls.

    I can't be the only one who was expecting it to be able to, right?

    If I was going to get it, I was only going to get the wifi version. However, I won't get it because I believe portable gaming devices should be at least $100 cheaper than their older console brother.

    US import day 1. Aussie retailers can go jump. I couldn't care less about their reasons for ripping us off with all things gaming, be it pressures from outside or local duties, taxes or blah blah...in the age of internet shopping, the consumer gets to say "oh really? Well fuck you then".

    I know it's a bit late to comment on this, but I've been reading the official Japanese PS Vita website. And unfortunately, at least in Japan, the PS Vita is carrier locked. It is a well known fact that in Japan, phones and the like are all carrier locked. However, if it wasn't carrier locked, it would be compatible with our carriers because two of the three main carriers use 3G at 2100Mhz.

    Oh well.. Looks like I'm not getting it while I'm over there..

    Source (in Japanese): http://www.jp.playstation.com/psvita/faq/network3g/4.html

      Ive already pre-ordered mine from Japan (3G) version, so now sure whether to cancel or just get it and use WiFi only, and then maybe sell it on eBay and make a few bucks. Im hoping they are saying its locked so people dong import it, but technically its unlocked.

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