The German unit of Vodafone Group PLC (VOD) has obtained a restraining order against Deutsche Telekom AG’s (DT) T-Mobile unit prohibiting the German telecommunications giant from selling Apple Inc.’s (AAPL) iPhone in Germany.
The restraining order was issued by a regional court in Hamburg Monday, a Vodafone Deutschland spokesman told Dow Jones Newswires.
Vodafone is questioning Deutsche Telekom’s iPhone sales practices, the spokesman said. Deutsche Telekom is marketing the iPhone exclusively in Germany.
Specifically, Vodafone is questioning the iPhone’s exclusive use in T-Mobile’s network and the use of the device being limited to certain fees within T- Mobile’s subscription offerings.
Vodafone isn’t generally opposed to T-Mobile’s exclusivity contract with Apple, but wants to have these new sales practices examined, the spokesman said. The restraining order doesn’t aim at a total sales stop, he added.
A spokesman for T-Mobile Monday confirmed the restraining order has been issued, adding that the company is examining the issue. So far, it is too early to comment on possible consequences for the company, he said.
About bloody time I say. Most countries have had laws against keeping phones locked to one network for a while now and Apple has been going against those laws by keeping the phone exclusive to the highest bidding network and killing unlocked iPhones with their software updates.
I’m glad that Vodafone has won this in Germany and I hope it marks the beginning of a turn against Apple’s blatant disregard of the rules set up to guarantee fair play in the mobile technology market. The iPhone in Europe has some wonderful features but they’re mostly crippled by keeping the phone locked to one network and not allowing it to reach it’s full potential.
Everyone knows I’m not a fan of the iPhone, but that’s mostly because it doesn’t match my practical needs, is low on features and has been stripped of much of it’s potential by Apple keeping it exclusive to one network in each country. Taken as a good looking high end fashion phone, it’s one of the best. Sure it’s not as good as a Nokia n95 in many ways, and has had some stupid design decisions made (only a two megapixel camera and no high speed data, for instance), but I’ve gone over those shortcomings many times before. The fact remains that the iPhone’s chief weakness is the way that Apple have been selling it. Perhaps now it can reach it’s full potential.
PS – I still don’t like it. 😀
This just in from Engadget – 20th November 2007
Italian site Morse.IT claims to have spoken to high-level sources and “confirms” in no uncertain terms that Vodafone has signed an exclusive deal with Apple. Right, the same company currently suing T-Mobile in Germany for their iPhone exclusivity. The launch of the 3G iPhone would occur simultaneously in all countries where the carrier operates but will not be announced until after the holidays to avoid impacting sales of the existing iPhone. The timing chides well with other rumors calling for a 3G release before May.
This just in from Reuters – 21st November 2007
T-Mobile said on Wednesday it will offer the iPhone without a T-Mobile contract for 999 euros ($1,478) at its shops.
It will also allow those customers who bought an iPhone since Nov. 19 to unlock the device free of charge so it can be used with other SIM cards. However, that will not enable customers to make use of all the functions that the music-playing and Web-browsing device offers.
T-Mobile has an exclusive deal with Apple to sell the iPhone in Germany, where Apple has no stores. Until now, customers had to sign up to a 24-month T-Mobile contract costing a minimum of 1,176 euros in order to buy the 399-euro phone.
A German court granted Vodafone a preliminary injunction this week preventing T-Mobile from locking the iPhone’s SIM card to T-Mobile when making a sale.
T-Mobile said it will comply with the injunction until the situation has been clarified by a court.