updated 09:15 am EST, Wed November 21, 2007
German iPhone w/o contract
(Updated with offer for current customers)
Reacting to a legal ruling, Germany's T-Mobile has announced that it will soon begin selling the iPhone without any required contract. A court yesterday granted Vodafone a preliminary injunction against T-Mobile, which since November 9th has been selling the iPhone for €399 with a two-year contract, much like the one enforced for AT&T's iPhone in the United States. Although T-Mobile had said it would ignore the injunction on at least a temporary basis, it has already devised a price for a contract-free product: €999, or $1,477. By contrast, the total cost of the iPhone with contract would be €1,575 ($2,329).
Vodafone has complained that T-Mobile's terms have been unfair, and that the company should not be allowed to lock phones to its service. Unlike the US, it is common in Europe for customers to unlock their cellphones; in some countries, it is even illegal for a carrier to sell phones without the option of an unlocked version. T-Mobile's option however will mark the first time the iPhone has ever been sold unlocked, as Apple has traditionally insisted that its product be an exclusive. Another unlocked iPhone will likely debut on November 29th, when it will arrive at the French carrier Orange.
Update: Reuters now reports that customers who have bought an iPhone from T-Mobile since November 19th will be able to get it unlocked for free, but some unspecified features will be broken as a result.