Apple's strategy for the iPhone has been to grant one operator in each country exclusive rights to sell the handset. In return, Apple takes an unspecified cut of the revenues generated by customers' iPhone contracts. In late November, wireless operator Vodafone Group complained that T-Mobile, which won the German exclusivity deal to sell the handset, was being anticompetitive by not allowing the handset to be used on other networks, while locking users into 24-month contracts.
Vodafone won a temporary injunction against T-Mobile,
"We are just happy that our opinion is confirmed that this is legal," said T-Mobile spokesperson Klaus Czerwinski on Tuesday. "We still think it is best for the customer."
Czerwinski refused to divulge how many unlocked iPhones had been sold in the two weeks leading up to Tuesday's judgment, but said there were "many sold." "It was hard to understand how somebody could buy it for that price," he told ZDNet UK. "At the beginning I thoughtwould be sold. It was ."
A spokesperson for Vodafone said that the company had not yet received the court's written ruling, but it would be examined closely "to decide any future actions." "From the outset, the intention was ensure clarity on
Unlocked iPhones can still be bought in France, however, as competition laws there have forced Orange--the winner of the iPhone exclusivity rights for France--to open up the handset to users of other networks.
David Meyer of ZDNet UK reported from London.