updated 09:40 am EST, Wed December 17, 2008
French iPhone to go open
Apple must at least temporarily allow carriers other than Orange to sell the iPhone in France, the country's competition regulator has ordered. The ruling stems from a complaint filed in September by Bouygues Telecom, accusing Apple and Orange of hurting competition. The regulator has so far agreed, calling the deal a "serious and immediate threat" to competition in the cellular world, as well as something that could lead to increased costs for people switching carriers.
The Associated Press notes that the breaking of exclusivity is technically only temporary, as a formal investigation of the Bouygues complaint has yet to begin. Bouygues has nevertheless stated that it hopes to begin selling the iPhone shortly, though this will depend on cooperation from Apple.
France was one of the first regions to receive the iPhone, following the US, the UK and Germany. The country was also notable for being the first to offer an unlocking option, a concession to local competition laws. Unlocked phones are expensive compared to Orange's contract options, however, and owners are still required to pick another French carrier.