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Discussion in 'iPhone' started by OllyW, Dec 17, 2008.
So, do you reckon they'll:
(a) Start selling them through other French operators
(b) Tell them to stuff it and just withdraw them from sale in France
they already sell unlocked phones in countries that have these laws, I really don't see them pulling out. They'll just change their strategy in France to selling unlocked and contract free phones.
Probably. It's just that Apple don't really seem to like being told what to do.
There's always been a system in place in France to unlock iPhones on request. The phones are sold with a carrier lock. You can choose to either purchase a subsidized phone and commit to a term contract, or else you can choose to purchase the phone outright and use the phone on a month-to-month basis. Either way, the phone is locked.
At any time, regardless of whether you opted for the subsidized term contract option or the unsubsidized contract-free option, you can request to remove the SIM lock. If you've owned the phone for less than 6 months, Orange will charge you a hefty fee to perform the unlock. If it's been 6 months or more, Orange will unlock them for free.
However, if you have a term contract, you are still expected to live up to your full commitment term, regardless of whether or not the phone has been unlocked.
That's been the case ever since the first generation iPhone first went on sale in France, and it's been no different with the iPhone 3G.
This ruling wouldn't directly affect any of those policies, which are actually more liberal than the relevant consumer rights laws.
If successful, it would be aimed at benefiting businesses, namely Orange's competitors. Any collateral benefit to consumers would be coincidental. It would have the effect of allowing other mobile carriers besides Orange to sell iPhones themselves. Heck, in all likelihood, those other carriers would also be able to sell the iPhones SIM-locked to their own networks. (With the caveat that, in accordance with consumer protection laws, any SIM locks that are applied must be removed free of charge no later than 6 months prior to the end of any term contract the customer committed to.)
I can't see why this isn't good news for Apple though. They'll love this decision - it just means they can now sell more iPhones in France.