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.
Re: Whats the point?
Good question. The point is that Apple are selling the iPhone to its existing customer base. That it draws the attention of new customers is a bonus. Like the iPod the iPhone is a catalyst for selling Mac kit, Apple's core business (no pun intended). So the iPhone is not an end but a means to an end, big difference.
People who are used to buying Apple product frequently update/upgrade their product as time goes by. Some buy every single point release. Others wait for a Gen. or two to pass by before they buy back into the same technology. The iPod is a classic (ugh! will these unintended puns never end) example. They are still selling as quick as ever - people are updating their Nano's bought earlier in the year with the new video version.
So, to answer the question "Who is going to spend £250 a year on a phone ......" I would say that there are plenty of people out there willing to part with that amount of cash every so often. In comparison with other spends, £269 is not a lot at all really. Bear in mind also that Apple have a well-established history of passing on technology enhancements without raking up the price aggressively. It would be reasonable, then, to expect the 2nd Generation 3G iPhone to cost very close to the £269 you would spend on a 1st Generation iPhone today.
What's the point?
Loads of people upgrade there phone every year and mobile tech moves on at a good pace.
So spending so much on the phone when in year any phone invariably looks dated seems stupid. People don’t really need to update their MP3 player often. The iPhone will be obsolete by next year. If its not already.
So who's going to spend £250 a year on a phone as apple tries to stay current against the other players?
They’re already about to make a 3g version of it!
Thought this all along, but who pays 700 quid for a Phone? You can get a decent PC for that much. You could get 2 Xbox360 elites and have money left over. Hell, you could even get 2 PS3s if you really wanted to.
Or you could buy a contract less Phone with inferior features. Admittedly the eye candy goes some way towards compensating for that, but nowhere near justifying such a ridiculous price.
I really do envy anyone who has that kind of money to waste.
Re: How Much?
Thankyou! The endless "it costs the cost of the contract too" statements are bloody irritating.
However, I unlocked mine - it is on PayG O2 due to the SIM lock still being unhacked, but it cost £269 and 1/2 hour messing. EDGE works, and scarily I get an E logo in the Borders, where I don't get a 3G T-Mobile signal.
It's a perfectly good handset, and "performs" is a variable measure - I'm finding battery life and user interface to be vastly better than my previous phones. It has many flaws, not least of which is the inability to act as a modem, but it seems to attract a lot more criticism from people that have not used it and have formed an Opinion...
So naturally we expect big things of iPhone too - but Apple isn't really interested in changing the world of the phone. It has 12 buttons. You speak into it and hear voices. What, really, can you do to change that. iPhone is about content delivery and bringing everything the consumer does into one place without the WIndows Mobile trick of basically being a tiny computer. And it works. The immediacy of the OS hides the fact that this is a computer - likewise the touch interface. For most WM devices (and I'm a fan of these), you need a stylus. You see start menus, and spinning "wait" things, and some things just don't work right. There's no consistency to the way things behave, and it runs out of memory.
There's also a lot of software that can perform badly or well, something Apple seeks to control on iPhone.
I personally think they have succeeded in their aims, even if I'd LIKE more out of the device. I think it will come, and I'll be confident that when they do add 3G and modem use, I will want - and be satisfied with - the iPhone. Oh, and more capacity. Although it would need to be 64GB to replace my iPod.
(As an iPod, I've noticed the flash based iPhone is faster than my HD-based one when connected to a compatible headunit. This is actually pretty handy, and it handles calls when being a media storage unit for my car quite well, pausing the music and still providing good call quality. This is the sort of thing that makes iPhone different).
"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."
I wish people would stop peddling this crap. The €1575 includes the cost of a 24-month contract and it is wrong to compare that price with a SIM-free priced handset with no contract. Equally ridiculous and misleading comparisons are being made on the UK pricing.
It is so simple really - the handset in the UK costs £269, period. The mandatory contract costs £35 per month for a minimum 18 months contract, total value £630. It may well be a lot of money for a low number of minutes and texts (200/200) but it does include unlimited access to The Cloud, for what thats worth. If Apple get another £189 (30%) out of the revenue share then one could argue that the iPhone TCO is £458 over the period. But what does that mean really when handset subsidies in the UK are recovered over the airtime contract period anyway?
What is happening elsewhere in Europe (France and Germany) is really quite interesting, and the backlash pricing by T-Mobile and France Telecom is not only entirely predictable but also with clear intent. But, for the life of me, I can't see the point of attempting to use the iPhone on a non-approved network. Visual Voicemail will not work, there is unlikely to be EDGE, and certainly no bundled unlimited The Cloud (again, for what thats worth!!). So what you end up with is an even worse-performing handset than if you kept with the plan. For what? Just to have the latest piece of Apple jewelry in your hand? And to then start complaining about it all just adds ridiculous onto the pile.
This will happen all over again when the UMTS version of an iPhone hits the streets. For such a despised device it sure has grabbed the attention of everyone on the planet, it seems. Hows that for Apple marketing :D