More Claims of Unlocked 3G iPhones... Belgium, India, Australia?

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Apr 12, 2001
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In February, Apple's COO, Timothy Cook said that Apple was "not married to any business model" with regard to the iPhone. Specifically, Apple's has received some criticism about their exclusivity contracts with specific mobile carriers, preventing customers from easily using other networks.

It appears this model appears to be eroding, at least in some countries. A recent report claimed that the 3G iPhone would launch in Italy as an unlocked phone, available for use with any carrier. The side effect of this move, however, could be higher retail prices for the iPhones. With the exclusivity deals Apple has in place, Apple earns a portion of monthly subscription fees from their network partners, such as AT&T.

Another report from Belgium makes identical claims that a 3G iPhone will be arriving by the end of June. Again, the iPhone is expected to be compatible with all Belgian operators, though is expected to launch on Mobistar first as early as May. The decision may have been forced upon Apple, however, as Belgium specifically prohibits the sale of "locked" mobile phones.

Still, other reports have hinted at similar distribution models in India and Australia later this year.

Despite technical measures in place to prevent the use of the iPhone on unauthorized networks, the practice of "unlocking" iPhones has become a big business with reports that as many as 400,000 unlocked iPhones running on China Mobile's network.

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Santa Rosa

macrumors 65816
Aug 22, 2007
1,051
0
Indiana
I have no problem with the iPhone being locked to a particular network as I do see some big advantages to it but at the same time offering it on any network would be a good think also.

If it gets released without any network ties then its going to be very very very popular.

I would like to think they might go for a two version approach but its just something I cant see apple doing. For example sell the iPhone either locked hence you get the visual voicemail, special iPhone data plan etc etc and unlocked with just the phone somehow stating that you wont have access to visual voicemail unless your carrier supports it and also you may need to check about your data plan so that you dont incur high bills.
 

aLoC

macrumors 6502a
Nov 10, 2006
726
0
If Apple wants subscription revenues, perhaps they could offer a .Mac style service for the iPhone that enables extra features. And it could be web not carrier based.
 

SirOmega

macrumors 6502a
Apr 17, 2006
704
2
Las Vegas
Apple wont be any different than any other carrier or vendor - in most of the world the phones sell unlocked and unencumbered (e.g. no feature lockout like Verizon used to do with Bluetooth). In the US they'll continue to sell them locked to a carrier.

On the plus side, at least things are lining up for an end of June launch. I would assume that the iPhone 2.0 firmware would probably go live at the same time, and it will ship on the 3G phones.
 

chappy87

macrumors regular
Jan 24, 2008
154
0
Southampton, UK
I take it this would mean no more free new apps for such iPhones, if the reason for them being free is that they are part of the subscription model?
 

Kilchzimmer

macrumors newbie
Apr 19, 2002
15
0
Switzerland (from US)
Good: unlocked phones and choice! :) :)

Bad: Apple raising price on iPhone to keep same profits. :mad:

Good: Other companies making good, affordable phones that bite into Apple's sales to remind them that they are not alone in the game. :p
 

macam

macrumors regular
Sep 6, 2005
106
8
Greater London, UK
Unlocked worldwide or else there'll be riots!

In all honesty - if they are releasing the 3G iPhone unlocked in other countries then logic prevails that it has to happen worldwide - otherwise the import of those Unlocked iPhones into countries like the UK will be vast! I know about 6 or 7 people with iPhones and only one of them is officially with O2. The rest are jailbroken...

Plus... if they do sell unlocked in only a few countries and not in others - the latter will feel shortchanged and will be up in arms! Apple will not come out smelling of roses.

So therefore if these rumours are true - the locked iPhone is a thing of the past! And just as an aside - if the SDK will allow developers to put whatever program they can develop on there... won't that negate the use for programs such as Jailbreak and therefore Apple will start to regain control over these iPhones that are being lost to the wild?
 

MacFly123

macrumors 68020
Dec 25, 2006
2,340
0
I think there are pros and cons for both. It would be cool to use the iPhone on whatever carrier you wanted as long as they all supported visual voice mail and had good plans with unlimited data. Being that I don't want to hassle with hacks and missing visual voicemail etc. I am just going to switch to AT&T for iPhone 2.0.

I would be willing to pay more for a phone though if there were no contract. Can we do a poll on that for people here in the US anyone???
 

PDE

macrumors 68020
Nov 16, 2005
2,474
7
It was so predictable that this would happen. Anybody with any knowledge of mobile phone market in the EU and Asia would have known that it was just a matter of time before Apple would have to back down and curb its own greed. Apple thought it could push its model on the rest of the world but it overestimated how much people would be willing to compromise to own the iphone. In the process, it lost a lot of momentum and goodwill which is really a shame given what a nice product the iphone is. On the other hand, I'm sure the next version will be much better...good times ahead.

Looking forward to the near future and an unrestricted iphone!
 

Bye Bye Baby

macrumors 65816
Sep 15, 2004
1,152
0
i(am in the)cloud
What a good idea.

If Apple wants subscription revenues, perhaps they could offer a .Mac style service for the iPhone that enables extra features. And it could be web not carrier based.
Actually that's not a bad idea in terms of offering a service. However, I think Apple really wants the mega bucks and has been a bit greedy with the iPhone. Revenue subscription could be millions.

However such a service as a tie in with .Mac could be most welcome. I would like something, at least in terms of syncing by wifi etc.
 

chappy87

macrumors regular
Jan 24, 2008
154
0
Southampton, UK
Not the ones as part of the development stuff- I mean such as the new features that cost Touch users $20, but were free to iPhone users. The reason given for this was that it was down to an accounting reason whereby the subscription revenue model meant that they did not have to charge iPhone users, but had to charge iPod Touch users? If a customer buys an iPhone without a contract that provides Apple with subscription revenue, then they are surely no more entitled to free updates than an iPod Touch user?
 

Minhoca

macrumors newbie
May 27, 2007
9
0
I'm from Portugal and last Sunday I was in store called Worten and I saw a iPhone...The description was that it will be available in October and it will be Unlocked too.

No signs of 3G...but at least it's official it will be release in October...
 

Ti_Poussin

macrumors regular
May 6, 2005
210
0
Nothing about Canada? damn I would love to have one that I don't need to jailbreak, and messing around at every firmware update.
 

tirerim

macrumors regular
Aug 4, 2006
204
0
If prices do go up for unlocked phones, though, we may see carriers competing more with their rates to attract customers, which will balance things out. At least in places other than the U.S. (sigh).
 

mccldwll

macrumors 65816
Jan 26, 2006
1,345
12
It was so predictable that this would happen. Anybody with any knowledge of mobile phone market in the EU and Asia would have known that it was just a matter of time before Apple would have to back down and curb its own greed.
And anyone with any knowledge of aapl would know that this was the plan all along!
 

sjo

macrumors 6502a
Aug 30, 2005
510
0
In all honesty - if they are releasing the 3G iPhone unlocked in other countries then logic prevails that it has to happen worldwide - otherwise the import of those Unlocked iPhones into countries like the UK will be vast! I know about 6 or 7 people with iPhones and only one of them is officially with O2. The rest are jailbroken...

Plus... if they do sell unlocked in only a few countries and not in others - the latter will feel shortchanged and will be up in arms! Apple will not come out smelling of roses.

So therefore if these rumours are true - the locked iPhone is a thing of the past! And just as an aside - if the SDK will allow developers to put whatever program they can develop on there... won't that negate the use for programs such as Jailbreak and therefore Apple will start to regain control over these iPhones that are being lost to the wild?
vast majority of 3g phones today have either the frequencies used in north america, or the frequencies used elsewhere. it's quite likely that this will be the case of 3g iphone as well. this would conviniently allow apple to sell the us version in different terms than the euro version.

not to mention that china are only launching their 3g for the olympics, and the version there is homegrown, ie incompatible with future iphone. (they'll implement compatible 3g network as well, but it will come later).
 

Donnacha

macrumors regular
Oct 17, 2006
225
41
My Prediction:

1. Ebay offloads Skype to Apple at a bargain price of $1 billion (plus a symbolic number of shares to somewhat obscure the terrible, terrible mistake they made in buying it for $2.6 billion).

2. Skype's app, fully integrated into the iPhone's core phoning functionality, becomes the central plank of June's spectacular 3G + apps launch.

3. No longer able to justify charging it's telco partners outrageous amounts for exclusivity (because Skype will destroy any juicy long-distance profits the they might have hoped for), Apple embraces the open market at no price increase.

4. Instead, they will make more money from a $22 per month Unlimited International calling + an All-You-Can-Eat iTunes music subscription, decimating AmazonMP3 and all the other music download stores, solidifying iTunes' dominance.

5. Apple gives no other VOIP apps licenses to appear on the iPhone. Apple becomes a major provider of phone and video calls, while the telcos become big dumb pipes, competing tooth and nail to sell simple bandwidth at commodity prices.

6. Skype on the iPod Touch become a huge hit with people who are within Wi-Fi reception for most of the day, completely bypassing the telcos.

7. The spread of Wimax puts an ever increasing number of people within all-day Wi-Fi range ... and Apple collects it's winnings.


Think it won't happen? Just watch ;)

Donnacha
 

MacCurry

macrumors 6502
Aug 28, 2006
413
72
Hurray!!!

This is excellent news. Now lets just hope & pray it actually happens this way.

Those who want a cheaper iPhone and like AT&T can get it subsidized, and those who want/need to use it with another carrier can get an unlocked one, but at a higher price.

This will put an end to most of the unlocking games.
 

solipsism

macrumors 6502a
Jan 13, 2008
507
287
Still don't understand what a "jailbraked" iphone is...:confused:
Jailbroken mean sthat you can put non-Apple authorized apps on the device. This will be less of an issue for many when version 2.0 comes out, but there will still be people who want to full control over the OS environment. Also, there will be apps that people will want that won't be authorized by Apple's SDK rules. For instance, torrent apps and VoIP apps that connect over cell towers.


I take it this would mean no more free new apps for such iPhones, if the reason for them being free is that they are part of the subscription model?
The free feature updates for the iPhone and not the Touch is due to the 24 month accounting model Apple is using, not the subscription plan.
 

GoodWatch

macrumors 6502a
Sep 22, 2007
954
37
Rotterdam, The Netherlands
I cannot wait until is lands in my country. But for those of you not from any of those EU countries, there is more than just the 'locked phone' issue. We all know that the 'free' phones you'll receive in those countries are not free, you'll pay them back through your plan. And in most of the times, that phone is locked during the first year.

But Apple seems to have it taken a step further. The plans that are offered through the 'exclusive' carriers are very expensive compared what is common. So a. we have to buy the phone in Euro (so we pay 591 dollar for it) and b. 150 minutes for 49 Euro isn't very competitive either. More vendors means more competition and lower per minute prices. The phones are made in the Far East so don't start about wages and difference in costs. I'm still puzzled why, now the Euro is less than 59 dollar cents, Apple still hasn't adjusted their European prices.
 
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