updated 09:50 am EST, Fri December 14, 2007
'Unlocked' Orange iPhones
Foreign shoppers hoping to buy an unlocked iPhone from France will be disappointed, accounts suggest. Other than Germany's T-Mobile, France's Orange is the only carrier to sell unlocked iPhones; and at €749 apiece, they are a full €250 cheaper than the next legal option. Despite being marketed as carrier-free, however, the phones in fact turn out to be country-locked, meaning they can only be used with SIM cards for French carriers. Should an owner want to call outside of France, they will still need a plan with a French carrier and the money to pay roaming fees.
Loading an Orange iPhone with a SIM card from the US, Germany or any other unspecified country will temporarily cripple its cellular functions, including phone calls and SMS messaging. The restriction is likely in place to safeguard Apple's American and UK iPhone markets, where the company does have exclusive carrier contracts; as many as 20 percent of all French iPhones are being sold unlocked though, suggesting that many shoppers are willing to pay extra for the carrier of their choice.