Apple to sell unlocked 3G iPhone in France?

October 17, 2007

Apple to sell unlocked 3G iPhone in France?Apple fought the law and the law won. It turns out lots of money doesn’t grant you the ability to do whatever you want, and, as a result, Apple has to comply with the law, France’s law.

Yesterday, Apple announced that France will receive the iPhone on November 29, 2007. In the press release, Apple only mentioned one model of the iPhone, the 8GB version, which will sell for €399.          

Apple made no mention of an unlocked iPhone, but, if we’re not mistaken, French law requires phone makers to sell unlocked versions of any locked handsets.

In our investigating of the situation between Apple and Orange, we found this document on the Orange web site today. You can read the machine translated version here.

We’re not great French speakers here at Blorge, but I just happen to know some basic French and a lot of Spanish, which happens to be very similar to French. In reading both the translated version and the original version, I’ve come to following conclusion.

This paragraph…

Le groupe n’a pas souhaité communiquer le prix du téléphone "nu". La législation française prévoit en effet l’obligation pour l’opérateur de vendre un téléphone seul si par ailleurs il est vendu couplé à un abonnement, ce qui sera le cas de l’iPhone.

…and it’s machine translated version…

The group did not want to communicate the price of the phone "naked". The French legislation provides for the obligation of the operator to sell the phone only if it is also sold coupled with a subscription, which will be the case with the camera.

…actually means…

The group did not want to discuss the price of the phone "naked" (unlocked without subscription). French legislation requires the operator to sell the phone on its own if it is also to be sold coupled with a subscription.

In searching for answers, it turns out Engadget Mobile wrote up a piece on the very same article, confirming the information.

So we now know that Apple’s giving France a very different model of the iPhone. Now I’d like to mention a piece of information I discovered a few months ago.

Back in July, Ittai Kidron, an analyst for CIBC world markets said this:

…checks suggest Apple is actually looking to introduce a 3G version of the iPhone for the U.S. market in November, ahead of the holiday season and earlier than currently expected.

At the time, Kidron believed Apple was looking to introduce a new model of the iPhone to the US in November, which now turns out to be the same month that France gets the iPhone!

If France gets an unlocked iPhone, why not the US too? Why not add 3G while they’re at it, making the iPhone the device it’s truly meant to be. That very acceptable but currently $599 price slot is looking very empty right now, and I think Apple has its sights set on filling the hole.

Sure, it’s speculation, but I’m just connecting the dots. Oh yeah, don’t be surprised if Verizon gets the iPhone in 2008 either.

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7 Responses to “Apple to sell unlocked 3G iPhone in France?”

  1. Bob Chen:

    Wow, are you stupid?

    I don’t know if this is a horrible attempt at an unfunny joke or you should be questioning why you’re in this business.

  2. Chris:

    Well I live in France and the French law goes like this regarding this matter:

    Providers can sell devices locked for a specific carrier, but after 6 months, the customer can get the device unlock code for free (… well the customers have to contact the customer service and sometimes it’s not free).

    with some luck the unlock is out there before one achieves the 6 months. Besides we often get a 12 month contrat or sometimes 2 years as for the iPhone … a bloody shame, if you ask me.

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