As part of Apple Inc.’s marketing thrust into Europe ahead of the Christmas buying season, the company said on Wednesday it has partnered with network operator T-Mobile to introduce the iPhone in Germany on Nov. 9, the same date scheduled for the launch of the iPhone in the UK.
T-Mobile is a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom AG. Apple announced Tuesday that O2 (UK) Ltd., a wireless carrier operator in the UK had been selected to offer the iPhone in the country.
As in the US, where it has an exclusive deal with AT&T Inc., Apple has also fixed exclusive deals in the UK and Germany. The popularity of the iPhone gives Apple the bargaining power to get around the insistence of service providers on controlling what software and hardware goes into consumer mobile devices.
The iPhone will however be more expensive in Europe than in the US. The phone will cost €399 (about US$558) in Germany and £269 ($538) in the U.K., with service contracts, ranging from 18 to 24 months thrown In the U.S., the price of the phone was brought down to $399, down from $599 at launch.
Apple is also expected to announce this week that the contract for France has gone to Orange, a mobile phone and Internet access business of France Télécom SA.
A number of hackers have tweaked with the iPhone’s software to make it usable with the networks of other operators. These moves don’t sit well with Apple’s carrier partners who pay whopping fees for their exclusivity in each country. The higher prices of the iPhone, announced in Europe so far, coupled with expensive tariff plans, may provide an incentive to import these phones from the US, and unlock them for use on other networks, some analysts said.
The iPhone will also not be able to take advantage of faster third-generation (3G) mobile networks in Europe because 3G chip sets hog power, The New York Times reported, quoting Apple’s chief executive Steve Jobs. By late next year, the iPhone may be able to take advantage of these networks, though in the meantime it could use Wi-Fi, a wireless local area network (LAN) standard, for high-speed Internet.