T-Mobile to sell iPhone without contract; debitel welcomes move

22 Nov 2007

T-Mobile Deutschland, a unit of incumbent Deutsche Telekom (DT), has said that with immediate effect, it will offer customers the option of buying Apple’s iPhone handset without a minimum-term contract, as an alternative to the package in which the handset is sold along with a contract for T-Mobile services. The cellco said customers will also have the option of having the SIM-lock on the iPhone handset removed. With the SIM-lock on, the handset can only be used on the T-Mobile’s network. The iPhone without a contract will retail at EUR999 (USD1,481).

The company said in a statement that the move was in response to a court order. Vodafone Germany filed for an injunction with a Hamburg court earlier this week asking for a review of T-Mobile ‘s marketing rights to Apple’s iPhone in Germany. The court issued a restraining order which apparently prohibited the sale of the iPhone conditional on network exclusivity and minimum-term contracts.

Meanwhile MVNO debitel is planning to market a special calling package for use with the iPhone handset, if technically possible. A debitel spokeswoman said the company welcome T-Mobile’s preliminary move, but was disappointed that it did not originally discuss this option with other sector players. She did not confirm whether debitel would be filing a complaint on T-Mobile’s marketing of the iPhone with Germany’s federal network agency BNetzA, but said it could be assumed that it would.