updated 10:15 am EDT, Mon April 21, 2008
Italian iPhone in weeks?
An Italian iPhone will be released "in weeks," according to one of the country's newspapers. Repubblica claims that a contract was signed last week in Apple's home city of Cupertino, California, after a visit from the CEO of Telecom Italia. The first version of the phone in Italy should be the highly-anticipated 3G model, rather than the current 2.5G edition; more importantly however, Apple is said to be experimenting with a completely new pricing scheme in the country.
Instead of locking iPhones to a single carrier for several years, as in the US or the UK, Apple is expected to allow the sale of phones that are unlocked by default, only priced at a higher level; this would be similar to the arrangement with Orange in France, except that there should be no locked phones as a cheaper alternative. This is also said to be in keeping with the popularity of pre-paid plans in Italy, and a willingness to spend more for the freedom of switching carriers at will.
Italians should be able to use the iPhone on various networks including 3 and Vodafone; Telecom Italia will still benefit the most however, being the primary point of sale, and the only company with official support training.