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T-Mobile UK gathering unlocked foreign iPhones

updated 09:40 am EDT, Mon July 20, 2009

T-Mobile hunts for iPhones

The UK division of T-Mobile is hunting around Europe for unlocked iPhones, says the Telegraph. Sources inside T-Mobile claim the company is looking to offer the phones to people planning to leave for O2, the UK's largest mobile carrier. T-Mobile is only the region's fourth-largest carrier, and stemming further defections is argued to be worth the expense of buying unlocked devices. At retail, SIM-free iPhones can cost several hundred Euros.

The carrier may be facing pressure from its parent company, Deutsche Telekom, which is considering selling the division. Within the last two months Telekom has had to write down the value of T-Mobile UK by 1.8 billion, and install a new CEO, ex-Orange executive Richard Moat. Officials at T-Mobile have declined to comment on matters.

O2 is currently the only official iPhone carrier in the UK, but the T-Mobile sources contend that neither Apple nor O2 have much recourse if they object to resales. T-Mobile is meanwhile rumored to be negotiating for official iPhone 3G sales, following the end of O2's exclusivity deal. The company has refused to comment officially however, other than to label reports on talks as "merely speculation."

by MacNN Staff





  1. vasic

    Joined: Dec 1969


    How will they do this???

    Unlocked iPhones cost around 600 EUR, where available (legally). There is no chance T-Mobile can afford to subsidise these phones by 400-500 EUR in order to offer them competitively on the UK market, unless they're willing to bleed money on the phones, just so that they can keep customers.

    T-Mobile looks really, really desperate...

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: How will they

    Um, you do understand the concept of subsidies, right? If O2 is selling you an iPhone for 199, they're paying Apple the other 300-400. That's money O2 hopes to get back from the contract.

    So if T-Mobile buys a phone for 600, sells it for 200 with a two year contract, are they not doing the same thing O2 is doing?

  1. nowwhatareyoulookingat

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: How will they

    Well, they would have to pay retail to buy unlocked iPhones from carriers in other EU countries, which is marked by over what Apple would directly charge a carrier for any given iPhone. This extra $100 or so makes it more difficult to compete against a carrier that gets them directly from Apple.

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