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Tekelom-Free iPhones

DW staff (kh)November 21, 2007

German phone operator Telekom announced on Wednesday, Nov. 21 that it will offer iPhones without a contract after a German court ruled that locking customers into an exclusive subscription was illegal.

An iPhone by Apple
iPhone aficionados can now buy the iconic phone without TelekomImage: AP

The unlocked Apple iPhone is available for 999 euros ($1,470), Deutsche Telekom said in a statement. The phone only costs 399 euros if buyers take a subscription from T-Mobile, Telekom's mobile unit.

There has been a thriving trade in US-sourced unlocked iPhones, but Apple says the warranty is void if the software has been hacked. Telekom also claims the unauthorized imports are illegal under German radio law.

A T-Mobile spokesperson said the company had no choice but to offer an unlocked version. Its rival, British telephone operator Vodafone, won the temporary injunction at the start of the week from a court in Hamburg. The company had challenged an exclusive distribution agreement between Apple and T-Mobile.

A QBowl by Vodaphone
Vodafone, who's also made a multifunction mobile, brought the charges against TelekomImage: picture-alliance/ dpa

Telekom will also unblock iPhones that have already been bought with a subscription, it added, and the conditions would apply "until the end of the judicial procedure" currently in progress.

Telekom said some features of the German version of the iPhone would be inoperable without T-Mobile service.

Telekom lawyers are attempting to overturn the ruling.