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It doesn’t pay to be an early adopter with Apple

So, Vodafone sues T-Mobile in germany over exclusive iPhone contracts. They don’t aim for a sales stop, but they want T-Mobile to unbundle the iPhone from their “special” tarriff.

It looks like the customer may win in this battle:

  • First of all, the courts want T-Mobile to offer iPhones without a contract. T-Mobile concurs by offering iPhones for EUR 999,–. Yeah, right.
  • They also force T-Mobile to offer unlocked iPhones (in germany, only prepaid phones usually come with locks). T-Mobile offers free unlocking for anybody buying an iPhone after 11-19-2007. Too bad if you bought one before that date.

That’s not T-Mobile’s final strategy, for sure, but it shows that lock-in will not work in the long run. It also documents T-Mobile’s fight to do just that regardless. My prediction: the market will route around them. There’ll be more unlocked iPhones and hacked ones than T-Mobile ones soon.

I’m still not getting one. Come back to me when the monthly plan, including unlimited data, is below EUR 20. Anything else is usury, given that you can get unlimited 3G UMTS/GPRS for EUR 25. And you could even use that on a laptop, which you can’t with the iPhone.

Here’s the official press release

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