Will France say no to locked iPhone?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by Madame Defarge, Oct 7, 2007.

  1. Madame Defarge macrumors regular

    Jul 6, 2007
    Bay Area
    Interesting article that says that France requires that all cell phones sold, must be available in an unlocked version.

    From Slashdot:

    "Apple will not be able to do so, since it has launched with a 5-year exclusivity agreement with AT&T. That deal will probably require exclusivity worldwide to avoid grey-market imports. (In return for this agreement Apple receives a large share of AT&T's monthly revenues from iPhone subscribers.) If the iPhone falls through in France, the country can join Belgium and a potentially long list of other countries with unlocking laws, whose Apple fans will have to make do with other, less Apple-y phones. Note that there is currently no mention of the iPhone on the Apple France page."

  2. urbanski macrumors newbie


    Jul 23, 2007
  3. Madame Defarge thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 6, 2007
    Bay Area
    Oui, oui!
  4. ARH1956 macrumors 6502

    Sep 12, 2007
    I realize it's simply semantics but if the iPhone is not released in France, who's saying no to whom? France to the iPhone, or Apple to French policy?
  5. Madame Defarge thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 6, 2007
    Bay Area
    Locked phones mean more profits for Apple

    France is saying no to locked phones, Apple is saying no to unlocking them.

    Here's one Slashdot poster's explanation of the situation:

    "There are strong anti-tying directives, to keep the american-style business model (microsoft, walmart) from damaging the economy here. France has consumer protection laws at least as strong as those in Germany, and most countries here have varying levels of enforcement. The UK has some of the weakest consumer protection laws, and with OfCom, no enforcement whatsoever."

    "I've been hearing more iPhone rumors this week, the biggest is T-Mobile has put their rollout plans on hold because they could not show the regulator the required unlocking function or unlocked phones. O2 in the UK is safe, because even though they will be violating laws there, the fines will be years down the road and only then a tiny percentage of the profits made."

    "There are no other populous countries in Europe where the iPhone could be sold without an unlocked version. Apple has really shot themselves in the head with this move. By locking themselves out of the largest GSM market in the world, they can't hope to achieve any kind of marketshare."
  6. sananda macrumors 68020

    May 24, 2007
    i don't think that post is accurate when it suggests that o2 will be violating laws. i am not aware of any law in the UK which prevents the locking of phones. there isn't even a requirement to unlock them at the end of the contract. only some suggestions from ofcom as to what would be a reasonable price to charge should a network agree to a customer's request to unlock a phone. all operators do, in fact, unlock phones (either at the end of the contract or at some point during the contract) when asked but they are not, so i have been informed by ofcom, required to by law.
  7. Madame Defarge thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 6, 2007
    Bay Area
    By law, unlocked cells must be available for purchase

    The iPhone will be released in the UK because they have the weakest consumer protection laws, when it comes to cells.

    In France, by law, unlocked phones must be availble for purchase. IOW, the consumer can either go out and by a brand new Nokia, which is not tethered to any phone company. Since travel between European countries is heavy, the consumer can replace his French SIM with a German one, and visa versa.

    Consumers also have the option of getting a discount on their phone, if the sign up for a 24 month contract.

    Actually, neither option is available for iPhone buyers because Apple and AT&T have not said when, if ever, the contract will expire.
  8. kamiboy macrumors 6502

    May 18, 2007
    I think it is important to note that it is not Apple that wants a locked phone but Orange who is agreeing to shell over a portion of the subscription revenues to Apple in exchange for exclusivity. I understand that Orange is not happy about being the only phone carrier in France to share its iPhone subscription revenues with Apple if anyone can simply buy an unlocked iPhone and use it on a competing carrier without that carrier having to give a dime to Apple.

    Things actually get a little more hairy in other EU countries, like Denmark that has a list of laws to protect consumers from greedy phone companies. In Denmark the longest minimum contract length is 6 months by law and after that period the phone company is lawfully required to unlock the phone free of charge if it so wished and the consumer is free to quit the contract.

    I am anxiously going to follow developments in France and other EU countries to see if Apple is going to make a shift in their strategy for those countries or just forgo iPhone launch there. Nokia reigns supreme in Europe and people have a somewhat detached relationship to their mobile phones and carriers as they are used to changing both often. This does not sync well with Apples strategy at all. Not to mention the popularity of 3G and 3G related services (music and on demand video) on many phones which the iPhone will not be able to offer or only offer in a limited capacity.
  9. Mackan macrumors 65816

    Sep 16, 2007
    Of course Apple wants a locked phone. They already have an exclusive with AT&T. This is the way they chosed. All iPhones they sell in the future must be locked, otherwise their whole buisness model with it will fail. They can't turn around now and start selling unlocked phones. They either ditch countries with more consumer friendly laws, or try to find holes in these laws.
  10. Devil's Refugee macrumors 6502

    May 14, 2007
    LMFAO !
    Would love to see that business model in practice.
  11. PDE macrumors 68020

    Nov 16, 2005
    It amazes me that Apple didn't foresee these issues when it was planning its global strategy. The initial buzz of the iphone is slowly fading and Apple has yet to figure out how to deal with Europe. It can't keep negotiating with carriers, only to fail because of the legal restrictions - that would look so amateurish and poor. Why didn't Apple think of this before? Surely, somebody in their legal team has been abroad?

    To me, all this shows is that Apple is not an international company. It has a purely U.S.-centric approach and believes that the rest of the world will respond the same way as the U.S.. And, it believes that it can force its business plan on the rest of the world too.

    I'm not wishing any ill on Apple, except that it would be good if European countries forced Apple to rethink its approach to the iphone. This is dragging on and Apple is still out fishing for partners. I also can't believe that they didn't do this a long time ago so that they could present a unified launch strategy all over the world.
  12. sananda macrumors 68020

    May 24, 2007
    they must have considered these matters very carefully. since it seems they were negotiating with france telecom, they must considered the wider implications of having to sell an unlocked phone in france. but i can't work out in any way what they concluded. doesn't add up to me.
  13. Devil's Refugee macrumors 6502

    May 14, 2007
    It's fairly simple to look at. They must have based all their research on the UK market considering we're all but in the US' back pocket these days. Seeing on how the UK doesn't protect the consumer as much as some of our european counterparts must've been a dream for Apple.
  14. sananda macrumors 68020

    May 24, 2007
    they're not stupid. they must have researched the situation in all the major eu markets.
  15. kdarling macrumors P6


    Jun 9, 2007
    First university coding class = 47 years ago
    That cannot be assumed. It's a mistake to believe that companies are somehow magically competent at everything.

    Companies (and governments and police forces and etc) are made up of individuals.

    Anyone who's ever worked, knows of people in positions of authority (or not) that make massive mistakes. Hopefully never yourself, of course.

    It's easily conceivable that someone did not do "due diligence" in their EU research, and is now on the hot seat. Happens all the time.
  16. sananda macrumors 68020

    May 24, 2007
    it's a fundamental point ....whether it's possible to sell locked phone and the consequences if you do. they will have weighed up the pros and cons. and their legal department will either have undertaken their own research of relevant laws or will have taken advice from local lawyers.

    if they did not, many people (not one person) will have been wholly negligent.
  17. dextertangocci macrumors 68000

    Apr 2, 2006
    I hope so. The American cellular system is so whack..

    Its so expensive and stupid that they lock you in to their stupid lame companies. I wish Apple and Google would buy that 700Mhz frequency and put all these stupid companies out of business. I can't believe Apple didn't make an unlocked phone. What a bad business decision (and anyone who says it's a good business decision is wrong) ;)
  18. eddiebrock macrumors member

    Sep 15, 2007


    And I should add it's going to blow up in their faces when 2007 goes by and the rest of Europe won't have iPhones.
  19. edoates macrumors 6502

    May 22, 2006
    Of course, if Apple finds a hole in the law, maybe the country in question will issue an update and brick Apple's policy ;-)

    Eddie O
  20. CWallace macrumors 603


    Aug 17, 2007
    Seattle, WA
    Apple tried - and succeeded - in launching a new business model in terms of selling cellular phones in the US. They sold an unsubsidized phone with a subsidized phone contract and a million of us bought into it.

    Perhaps that they are now trying to do something new in other countries should not be surprising...

    They've done a decent job of it with the iPod and iTunes, so again, should it be a surprise they're trying it again with the iPhone?

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