Previously getting a smart phone was always difficult coz you have to do the comparison on what type of phone you want and who is offering the better plan.
Actually it's the same in any country. I had never thought of getting any plans coz I dislike tying myself down with a plan of any kind.
But thinking in a long term, it was definitely cheaper getting a plan. You don't have to a specific brand just to register. Places like TeleChoice are "vendors" for several service providers that can give you the relevant advise on what you are looking for.
Typically me, I did a comparison table for the specific phones that KS & I considered and compare it with the different service providers. In the end, we went for Vodafone was they were offering a 2GB data plan for the phone.
My Galaxy SII. Didn't feel the necessity of getting an expensive phone since I had previously used a iPhone4.
KS's very first smart phone, HTC One