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Orange French iPhone exclusivity deal suspended

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By Charles Starrett

Contributing Editor
Published: Wednesday, December 17, 2008
News Categories: iPhone

The French Competition Council has provisionally suspended the exclusivity agreement between Apple and France Telecom tying the iPhone to mobile operator Orange. The Council, whose decision should take effect from Thursday at the latest, called the network’s five-year exclusivity deal with Apple “clearly excessive” and said it risked “serious and immediate damage to competition on the mobile market and to consumers.” The ruling would allow customers to buy the iPhone from rival operators SFR and Bouygues Telecom in time for the holidays. France Telecom has said it intends to appeal the decision, which it says “places France in a radically different position” than Britain, Germany and Spain, where Apple has also signed exclusivity deals.

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Comments

1

Why doesn’t anyone try to bring this up in court in the states.  Apple’s agreement with ATT is just as damaging to competition here.

Posted by miles on December 17, 2008 at 3:46 PM (PDT)

2

not comparable situation in the US, where AT&T;uses a different technology than Verizon and Sprint and operates on different radio frequencies than T-Mobile - Apple would have to create a different product to be compatible with the other US carriers. this is not the case in Europe where all carriers use the same network technology on the same frequencies.

Posted by ginswizzle on December 17, 2008 at 6:39 PM (PDT)

3

I agree with ginswizzle.

Posted by dennis on December 17, 2008 at 6:49 PM (PDT)

4

#2 is partly right, but so is #1.

The rest of the world uses the GSM system, as does AT&T;and T-Mobile USA. (Verizon and Sprint use the CDMA system, which is only also used in S. Korea.) GSM vs. CDMA is like Satellite TV versus Cable - both let you watch TV, but a “box” for one won’t work with the other. Similarly, both Verizon and AT&T;are mobile phone carriers, but a Verizon phone won’t work on AT&T;, for example. In this regard, #2 is correct.

However, GSM allows phones to be sold “unlocked” - no contract or provider activation required. All of your info as a mobile phone service subscriber is stored on your SIM Card (what’s in the little “tray” in the top of the iPhone). This card can be easily moved from one unlocked phone to another, and it will work for you. This is the norm in the rest of the world - sign up for service (and thus get a SIM card), buy an unlocked phone (anywhere, and of your own choosing), then simply insert your SIM into your phone to begin using it; if you change phones, just move the SIM card to the new phone, and it works.

Apple’s exclusivity with mobile operators and the iPhone thus goes against the GSM standard; hence, #1 is also correct. Were Apple to offer the iPhone totally unlocked, a SIM card from any GSM carrier would work in it, and thus the iPhone would be usable on any such carrier. An AT&T;user could travel to Europe, purchase a prepaid SIM card there, put it in the iPhone, and it would work on that carrier’s network, without the need for AT&T;‘s pricey “International Roaming” plans.

(The wrinkle in all this is 3G. T-Mobile USA’s 3G frequencies are the only ones not supported by the iPhone’s hardware, which work on the frequency bands of AT&T;and the rest of the world.)

Posted by Herr Doktor on December 18, 2008 at 7:59 AM (PDT)

5

Comment #3 is wrong and #4 is right, because Neo is never right and Kane is always right. smile

Posted by WhoKnows on December 18, 2008 at 8:44 AM (PDT)

6

It is a good approach, it will help to decrease the iphone purchased cost and also get better price to sign u for the service with the competition.
Actually, I do not understand why apple and Orange have been alloweed to sign such agreement. I guess that same decision will come within a short in the Germany,uk , etc ...

Posted by TranKile on December 21, 2008 at 5:32 AM (PDT)

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