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German iPhone Gets Locked Up Again

On November 21, carrier Vodafone was successful to place an injunction against T-Mobile, which brought an unlocked 999 Euro (about $1464) iPhone to German customers, in addition to the SIM-locked 399 Euro (about $589) iPhone that was launched on November 9 in Germany.

In its conclusion, the court said that the iPhone “is not just a new cellphone” but rather a package consisting of cellphone, features, services and networks. As a result, the exclusive availability through T-Mobile and a SIM lock are not considered a violation of German antitrust law.

According to voices quoted in German media reports, the ruling could provide enough reason for more manufacturers and carriers to limit the availability of certain cellphones to certain networks - which has not been possible in Germany so far. In contrast to a subsidized distribution model, in which cellphones are practically given away for free in exchange of a 2-year service contract, locked up cellphones could be sold at much higher prices, creating a new revenue source for carriers.