T-Mobile unlocks iPhone, charges €999

Vodafone court case pays off... sorta

Want an unlocked iPhone? Go to Germany. T-Mobile today said it would sell Apple's handset without a contract for a whopping €999 ($1481/£720). It also said it will unlock already-purchased iPhones.

The network's move was prompted by Vodafone's success in the German court. The cellco claimed T-Mobile's exclusive iPhone sales deal, tied to an airtime contract, was uncompetitive. It obtain a preliminary injunction banning T-Mobile from tying the iPhone's SIM to the T-Mobile network.

Still, it may prove a pyrrhic victory. T-Mobile's SIM-free iPhone price is more than double the €399 it charges for a locked iPhone, and arguably way in excess of the handset's worth, based on its feature set.

And while it will unlock iPhones purchased since 19 November, it ominously said that not all of the device's functions will work afterwards, Reuters reports.

However, €999 is less than the cost of the iPhone with a contract, which would set German buyers back at least €1575 for hardware and monthly airtime over the 24-month minimum duration of the contract.

But it's still a ridiculous amount of money to pay for a phone that has no 3G, GPS, A2DP and all the other useful stuff missing from the Apple product but available from its rivals.

The iPhone is due to go on sale in France later this month through Orange, which will offer the handset both locked and unlocked. French law stipulates that carriers may not tie handsets exclusively to their networks. As yet, Orange hasn't said how much it will charge for an unlocked iPhone.

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