Belgian operator will sell iPhone simlock-free
Low country, high price
Mobile telecoms group Mobistar SA. will launch the iPhone 3G in Belgium from Friday - but more importantly it will be one of the few European countries where the the iPhone will be totally simlock-free.
Belgian regulators forbid "koppelverkoop" (forced bundling), so as a result punters have to pay a very hefty price - the 8GB version in black will sell for €525 and the 16 GB version in black or white for €615.
In Germany and the Netherlands the iPhone 3G itself is subsidised down as low as €1, but subscriber plans require a two-year contract. If you want to make the iPhone simlock-free, T-Mobile will ask you to pay €120 in the first three months. It will be "free" after a year, but the two-year T-Mobile contract can't be cancelled.
Buying a more expensive simlock-free iPhone along with a cheaper plan in Belgium is what many Germans and Dutch intend to do. They may not even have to cross the border.
Some websites have already started offering small numbers of simlock-free 3G iPhones, oddly enough with firmware 1.1.4, but with the promise of free upgrade to 2.0. ®
This article compared to Wired News
Quite interesting that Wired takes a whole other view on this. http://news.wired.com/dynamic/stories/I/IPHONES_BELGIUM?SITE=WIRE&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2008-07-09-13-07-16
iPhone PAYG in Italy
will also be simlock free and open, cost is €469 for 8GB from Vodafone.it and TIM.it. Preregistration is available on the afore sites, however you'll need a Codice Fiscale (Italian Tax financial traceability number issued by the dreaded Guardia di Finanzia). The Contract iPhone 3G's from the two ops will be authorised at home via iTunes 7.7 , as they can't work out how to do it in-store. Demand is huge. Lots of sheeple complaining about the typical two thousand four hundred US dollar cost over the 24 month contract time. network d/l limited to between .6 and 1GB/month, but the two ops haven't got much data experience. The third Italian operator, 3 (tre), is hopping mad at not being involved in fridays debacle/free-for-all and intends launching a 3 branded iPhone 3G for €90 euros , with a minimum top up of around €10/20 per month, to undercut the others. 3 actually knows about data networks!
last fascinating fact for those who wish to spend dosh, look up the Apple UK refurb store, go to iPod, and refresh the "refurb iPhone" tab every few days. Rumour has it that once world+dog has bought 3G , then they'll release the mountain of 'refurb' 2G and iPod touches which are mysteriously stockpiled in Milton Keynes? (I made the MK bit up)
Re: Why the shock
"The deal is that operators give you a "free" or cheap phone up front and you effectively repay them for subsidising the handset over the next 12/18/24 months of your contract."
Yeah, but I'd hardly call a subsidised iPhone "cheap" nor "free"...