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Microsoft Pri0

Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

November 21, 2007 at 1:31 PM

High iPhone price in Germany is not what is shocking

I’ve seen several bloggers write today about how T-Mobile in Germany is selling an unlocked version of the Apple iPhone for an outrageously high price of $1,477 (or 999 euros).

But the interesting part of the story is not the price.

You see, T-Mobile was forced to unlock the phone to comply with a court injunction issued after Vodafone challenged its exclusivity on the handset.

In fact, it’s not the cost at all that’s odd about the story.

As the International Herald Tribune story points out, the offer does fit generally with T-Mobile’s pricing schemes. The popular Nokia N95, for example, sells for as little as 199.95 euros ($295.63) with a two-year contract, or 619.95 euros($916.60) without one.

What sticks out to me is that T-Mobile is getting in trouble for having an exclusive phone agreement.

Here in the U.S., AT&T has an exclusive on the iPhone — and it’s not just any exclusive. It lasts FIVE years!

And in Germany, T-Mobile only started selling the phone Nov. 9.

As far as I know, I don’t know a single carrier in the U.S. that sells any unlocked phones, even at a higher price. The closest is T-Mobile USA, which after a certain time has lapsed will voluntarily unlock your phone.

I don’t know if AT&T will ever unlock the iPhone you bought.

So the next time Google starts talking about “open access” this is one example of what it’s talking about. If it’s already going on in Europe, then maybe it’s not as extreme as some of Google’s detractors are claiming.

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