T-Mobile can sell Apple's iPhone exclusively locked to its own service, a German court ruled Tuesday, reversing an injunction last month requiring the company to sell an unlocked version in Europe's biggest economy.
The Hamburg District Court said Tuesday that T-Mobile could indeed sell the phone, coupled with a two-year contract, that could not be used on networks provided by rival wireless companies. The arrangement is similar to those Apple has with other carriers around the world. In the United States, AT&T is Apple's exclusive partner.
The company will stop selling an unlocked version but said that after customers' contracts expire, it will unlock their iPhone at no charge.
The iPhone made its German debut on Nov. 9 - available only with the two-year contract from T-Mobile. The German unit of rival Vodafone Group PLC (VOD) protested that at the Hamburg court. That court agreed, issuing an injunction barring T-Mobile from offering the iPhone tied to the minimum 24-month contract and from selling it only with a so-called SIM lock that prevents users from switching the device to any other operator's network.
T-Mobile had appealed, but in the meantime offered an unlocked version of the phone priced at 999 euros, or nearly $1,500, more than twice the 399 euro ($585) price of a phone sold in combination with the contract. (info from The Associated Press)