Thursday, August 23, 2007

Apple iPhone comes to Europe

The Financial Times reports, Apple has signed contracts with Orange, O2 and T-mobile for exclusive use of the iPhone on their networks in Europe. This means the iPhone can only be used on the networks of these providers and not with other mobile providers.
In June, when the iPhone was released in the US, iPhone users could only use their new phone on the network of AT&T. Apple had signed an exclusive contract with AT&T for a two year period.

Initial release of the iPhone in Europe, is planned for the autumn. But it will only be available in Germany, the UK and France. The iPhone will be released in the rest of Europe, in the beginning of next year.
For Belgium this means the iPhone will probably be available in spring 2008, and only on the Mobistar network, as Mobistar is part of the Orange group.


Anonymous said...

Is it true that in some European countries the iPhone must be sold unlocked?

ruleant said...

Yes. Belgian legislation, for instance, forbids 'koppelverkoop'. This means that it is forbidden to sell a product that forces you to buy another product along with it.

In case of the iPhone, this means that the iPhone can't be sold when it can only be used on the cell-phone network of one provider. The customer should be able to use any product (in this case the iPhone) on the cell-phone network he/she chooses.

In practice, this means that the iPhone would have to be sold 'unlocked' in Belgium. But it's not sure if it will be sold in Belgium. I haven't heard of a release date.

There are some other European countries that have a similar legislation, so the iPhone isn't available there either.
But in Germany, France and the UK, the iPhone is sold, but it is 'locked' and tied to a single cell-phone network provider.