Picture this… You’re on the golf course when you receive important news about one of your stocks via mobile. You calmly log onto your new iPhone trading platform and place a trade while your golfing partner stands by fuming that he has missed out on an opportunity to make a quick few thousand bucks.

Welcome to the revolution in mobile trading.

Trading via mobile phone is not new; it was introduced to Australia in April 2004 by CFD provider, IG Markets. But the 3G network and iPhone have taken its capabilities to a whole other level.

“The iPhone is a big leap in technology and it deserves all the hype it has received,” says IG Market’s chief operating officer, Tamas Szabo. “The iPhone is more like a mobile browser that enables you to surf the internet, which no other mobile phone can do effectively at the moment.”

The iPhone – sales of which totalled six million worldwide in June – is designed for faster internet downloads and takes full advantage of the high speed third generation (3G) networks.

In case you missed the media hoopla, the iPhone – Apple’s “smart phone” – went on sale in Australia on 11 July. Hundreds of Apple stgotees braved the winter chill and long queues – some for up to 11 hours – in order to be one of the first to get their hands on the much-coveted stgice.

Three telcos – Optus, Telstra and Vodafone – are offering a variety of different plans.

Telstra’s media spokesman, Peter Taylor suggests that traders should opt for one of numerous “data packs”, which are on offer by all three carriers.

Mobile plans include:

Optus – no upfront cost on the $79 cap plan, which will include $550 worth of calls and 700 Mb of data per month.

Vodafone – no upfront cost on the $169 plan, which includes $1200 of calls and 1 Gb of data per month. (The $69 plan costs an additional $189 for the handset and includes $310 of calls and 250 Mb of data per month.)

Telstra – no upfront cost on the $80 plan but it includes only $70 of calls and 5 Mb of data.

NB: Internet browsing packages are separate.

Taylor also points out that the iPhone has free Wi-Fi access. The Wi-Fi connects to your local wireless network. So if you’ve got wireless network in your office, home or on the trading floor or in your carrier’s hot spot you can access the net via your iPhone for free.

It’s only when you are connected to a mobile phone network that you’ll be charged.

CommSec launched Australia’s first iPhone share trading application on 10 July. IG Markets followed hot on the heels of the online share broking giant, launching the first CFD platform in Australia to operate on the iPhone 3G on 14 July.

“With the iPhone and 3G network you can have access to normal websites but most are difficult to navigate because the screen is so much smaller, which is why we created a purpose built application designed especially for the iPhone,” says managing director of CommSec, Matt Comyn.

CommSec’s IT team started looking at mobile stgices in the late 1990s. In 1999 they were interested in WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) but couldn’t stgelop an application that was fast enough.

“We’ve been doing an SMS share price alert service since late 2000,” says Comyn admitting that although this was reasonably popular it didn’t receive mass penetration.

Research showed that clients wanted a rich user interface and application and Comyn is confident that CommSec’s iPhone Edition trading application, which makes use of iPhone’s touch screen functionality and enables customers to trade “from almost anywhere”, is a winner.

Via a slightly different url address iPhone traders can access 90 percent of the functions available on CommSec’s main website allowing them to “log-in anywhere, keep up to date with market news and prices, research companies and their performance, monitor their stock portfolio, and buy and sell shares.”

IG Markets, has optimised its full online dealing service “PureDeal” to operate on the iPhone.

Szabo told CompareShares that the application has been functioning in the UK since March, where it takes between 1500 to 2000 trades a day.

PureDeal doesn’t require any software download. It’s a browser-based website and as with the CommSec application it’s a simple matter of using a password to log on.

“You can watch the market, monitor your positions, set up watch lists, adjust your stops and limits and trade,” says Szabo revealing that charts, including dealing from charts, will be the next feature to be released.

While the CommSec and IG Market iPhone applications offer a range of sophisticated functions both Comyn and Szabo stress that as yet their mobile platforms are viewed as secondary to their online platforms.

While the mobile market is still small Comyn predicts that within five years it will represent 15 to 20 percent of CommSec’s trade.