or Connect
AppleInsider › Forums › Mobile › iPhone › Locked sales of Apple's iPhone challenged in Hong Kong
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Locked sales of Apple's iPhone challenged in Hong Kong

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
Apple's policy of limiting operation of the iPhone 5 with certain Hong Kong carriers is under fire, as one carrier has filed court documents contesting the practice, claiming that consumers may be surprised to find that "their choice of mobile service provider [is] dictated by Apple."

iPhone 5


Apple's iPhone 5 is currently compatible with the 4G networks of only three mobile providers in Hong Kong: SmarTone Telecommunications, CSL Ltd., and Hutchison Telecommunications Hong Kong. The device can connect to other networks, but users on those networks, according to South China Morning Post, are restricted to using 3G connections.

Hong Kong Telecommunications (HKT) has filed a complaint over this policy, taking the issue before a court since the relevant regulatory body ? the Communications Authority ? has refused to investigate the issue. HKT claims in its suit that it has lost "hundreds of millions of Hong Kong dollars" due to Apple's SIM-locking policies for the iPhone 5, iPad, and iPad mini.

The carrier is asking for the court to order the Authority to reconsider HKT's complaint and to issue a directive to Apple to remove the SIM-lock. Doing so, HKT argues, would not harm Apple, but would result in further sales for the company.

HKT originally filed a complaint with the Communications Authority in September of last year, about a week after the launch of the iPhone 5. The Authority, though, has stated that it may not have jurisdiction over Apple in the matter.

"The SIM-locking is causing significant harm to customers, to the competitive process," The Wall Street Journal quotes HKT representatives as saying. "Customers are confused... and they are, quite wrongly, blaming HKT for the inability to access its 4G/LTE network on the iPhone 5 when this is entirely because of anti-competitive conduct engaged in by Apple."

Documents filed by the Hong Kong carrier claim that the SIM-locking policy has the potential to harm consumers who are not aware of their devices' limitations. These consumers would later "find that they were having their choice of mobile service provider dictated (or limited) by Apple."
post #2 of 22
"The SIM-locking is causing significant harm to customers, to the competitive process," The Wall Street Journal quotes HKT representatives as saying. "Customers are confused... and they are, quite wrongly, blaming HKT for the inability to access its 4G/LTE network on the iPhone 5 when this is entirely because of anti-competitive conduct engaged in by Apple."

Sounds like the entire story is not being told here. Is there a technical/compatibility issue with HKT's 4G/LTE network not working with the iP5? Or is it simply the whining of a carrier that is upset about the iP5 not officially being officially on its network?

Can someone shed some light on this?
post #3 of 22

How I wish to amend the title to "United States"…

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
Reply

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
Reply
post #4 of 22
A simlock or netlock locks a device to a carrier, not a particular communication standard. If the iPhone 5 does work on HKT's network in 3G mode, then it is not locked.

Now, if the incompatibility is due to HKT using an unsupported frequency, or due to missing carrier profiles in the iPhone software... According to Wikipedia, HKT uses the same frequency and bands as the networks supported by the iPhone. If this is true, there seems to be missing support in the iPhone's software and the claim may have some validity.
post #5 of 22
The reason why this is big news in Hong Kong is that sim locking, or any restrictive phone practice, is unknown in Hong Kong. It is probably illegal as well. They will almost certainly win this as it seems to be againt the Consumer Authorities rules. Apple has tried to sneak this in and they are going to suffer for it.
post #6 of 22
Have they not got the wrong end of the stick? In the UK the current iPhone 5 has only limited LTE compatibility and also will never ever work on much of the upcoming LTE networks.
post #7 of 22
I don't know who write the original misleading article but that's not the case.

In Hong Kong it is illegal to SIM lock a phone so all iPhones sold in Hong Kong are SIM unlocked. (Yeah welcome to visit Hong Kong to buy phones :>) Therefore iPhones can be used on HKT network.

What HKT complaining now is Apple, by setting restrictions in carrier profile, limiting iPhones used on HKT network can only use its 3G network but not the LTE network despite that its LTE network is using the same system as Smartone, CSL and Hutch, the 3 networks officially selling iPhones in Hong Kong.
post #8 of 22

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

How I wish to amend the title to "United States"…

 

Do you really want to pay full price like they do in Hong Kong? The 3GS was about $850 US and the cheapest iPhone 5 is $720. Even if you sign a 2-year contract you still pay this amount up front in exchange for a monthly bill credit.

post #9 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by konqerror View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

How I wish to amend the title to "United States"…

Do you really want to pay full price like they do in Hong Kong? The 3GS was about $850 US and the cheapest iPhone 5 is $720. Even if you sign a 2-year contract you still pay this amount up front in exchange for a monthly bill credit.
If you have been with a network a while, or if you pay with a particular credit card that the carrier is doing a cross-promotion with, they waive the handset prepayment altogether. I got an iPhone 5 on 3HK, with zero prepayment on a 24 month contract (extension) and my bill for unlimited calls and data is US$50 per month. Yes, Tallest and everybody else would love to see these deals in the US.

Oh, and I added one month to my contract and got free Liquipel treatment.
post #10 of 22

The article is kind of worthless since it doesn't (as far as I can tell) make an effort to explain the situation.

Are these phones subsidized or not?

What is the exact nature and cause of the inability of the phones to hook up? Hardware, software, laziness, politics, business, orneriness?

And who is responsible for the problem?

Are these phones under contract or not?

Is there a way to make the phones work at all, or after buying out the contract, or at the end of the contract (if the contract exists)?

 

Why bother to write the article if there is no real information to share?

 

Wake me when you've scratched the surface.

post #11 of 22

That's pretty helpful information. Please share with the author.  ;-)

Quote:
Originally Posted by sscywong View Post

I don't know who write the original misleading article but that's not the case.

In Hong Kong it is illegal to SIM lock a phone so all iPhones sold in Hong Kong are SIM unlocked. (Yeah welcome to visit Hong Kong to buy phones :>) Therefore iPhones can be used on HKT network.

What HKT complaining now is Apple, by setting restrictions in carrier profile, limiting iPhones used on HKT network can only use its 3G network but not the LTE network despite that its LTE network is using the same system as Smartone, CSL and Hutch, the 3 networks officially selling iPhones in Hong Kong.
post #12 of 22

Ditto! Down with the crazy system we have here in the US.

Currently the only place I know of where one can get a decent deal for the iPhone in the US is through a carrier sold through Walmart (read about it but don't even know it's name.)

Can anyone share their beta on the best unlocked, unsubsidized carrier deal?

 

[And doesn't Liquipel sound like a lice or flea treatment for your phone?  ;-)  ]

Quote:
Originally Posted by tonton View Post


If you have been with a network a while, or if you pay with a particular credit card that the carrier is doing a cross-promotion with, they waive the handset prepayment altogether. I got an iPhone 5 on 3HK, with zero prepayment on a 24 month contract (extension) and my bill for unlimited calls and data is US$50 per month. Yes, Tallest and everybody else would love to see these deals in the US.

Oh, and I added one month to my contract and got free Liquipel treatment.
post #13 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by DESuserIGN View Post

The article is kind of worthless since it doesn't (as far as I can tell) make an effort to explain the situation.
Are these phones subsidized or not?
Both.
Quote:
What is the exact nature and cause of the inability of the phones to hook up? Hardware, software, laziness, politics, business, orneriness?
Apple hasn't updated the carrier settings to enable LTE.
Quote:
And who is responsible for the problem?
The carrier says Apple. Hence the lawsuit.
Quote:
Are these phones under contract or not?
Some are, some aren't.
Quote:
Is there a way to make the phones work at all, or after buying out the contract, or at the end of the contract (if the contract exists)?
The phones work perfectly well on the 3G network.
Quote:
Why bother to write the article if there is no real information to share?

Wake me when you've scratched the surface.
Without knowing the exact nature of communications between the carrier and Apple, thats the info we have.
post #14 of 22
Apple has a Network Quality Test on all LTE Network before it is enabled on iPhone.

http://www.imore.com/apple-testing-lte-network-quality

Most Phone Maker also test their phone as well, but do not normally block the usage of it. However LTE being a battery drain, having a poor LTE network will means poor iPhone experience. This will happen with any generation of new Network technology. But most of the time Network carriers tend to be slow to optimize their usage and milk the current system for as long as possible.

So Apple has this LTE Quality Test, Those that passes it will get a LTE enabled carrier profile.

While that doesn't automatically means you get 3G signal quantity with LTE, which will be impossible given the finite amount of time. It will at least be a acceptable to use.
Those who are old enough to have used the first 3G Network with 3G mobile would properly remember the situation. It was yuck.

Now HKT didn't pass the test.. It wasn't iPhone 5 didn't support the band of their operating LTE ( the 1800Mhz frequency ) , it was simply they aren't up to Apple's standard.

Now you are going to ask, Well HKT (could ) have spend lot improving the network. Couldn't Apple just give them a 2nd chance to test it?

The reality is actually technically limited. When the world has expected to roll out 4G Network on 2600Mhz, Apple has decided to use 1800Mhz as LTE, this forces All Mobile Network to rethink their roll out. 1800Mhz providers much better penetration then 2600Mhz, but most of the 1800Mhz band are occupied by 2G customers. So what Apple is basically telling the Mobile Carriers, You are going to switch to 3G / 4G Network and ditch 2G in the future, why not do it now? You want a much higher Margin iPhone 5 contract customers or a 2G customers which you basically gain nothing?

Now back to the HKT case, it just happen they have a limited 1800Mhz resources. And ALL of their current 2G customers are on the 1800Mhz, unlike carriers that has other frequency choices. At best they could only allow 5Mhz on LTE with limited places that has a 10Mhz, Which means in most case it would have a theoretical max of 35Mbps. Since HKT has DC-HSPA+ of up to 42Mbps, LTE on HKT or not makes little difference in speed.
post #15 of 22
Shyte telco's here in The Netherlands cheap out by simply applying new antennas to current towers. They save money on the implementation of 4G / LTE by not installing additional towers with the shorter range antennas. KPN is going to implement 4G on the 800MHz band. The iPhone5 therefore won't work and remains stuck on 3G. T-Mobile (supposedly) is going to roll out 1800MHz LTE starting this August but won't be finished nation wide before the end of 2014.

http://www.t-mobile.nl/persoonlijk/htdocs/page/service-en-contact/bereik/4g/4g.aspx
http://www.apple.com/iphone/LTE/
http://www.kpn.com/prive/4G.htm
I’d rather have a better product than a better price.
Reply
I’d rather have a better product than a better price.
Reply
post #16 of 22
All iPhone's are SIM unlocked in Hong Kong, however there is no carrier profile that enables LTE on HKT's network. As such, any Hong Kong iPhone 5 will work on their network, but won't be able to connect to their LTE network.

This could be because they haven't had their LTE network certified by Apple yet, but that is just speculation.
post #17 of 22

Great writeup, ksec. Thanks!

post #18 of 22
konq, this is precisely what I did. Needing a sim-free unlocked iPhone for truly international use, I bought a Hong Kong Apple Store 3GS. Pricey, yes, but I don't trade up every 6 months to 1 year and am never locked into any carrier contract. One can then sell at a premium that iPhone - which are in high demand by many Americans - and trade up at will. I don't consider devices as disposal, nor is there yet a free lunch with any telecom carrier. The same people who moan about a pricey sim free iPhone would not hesitate to plunk down $800 for an iPad that they'll swap out in 6 mo. for the newest rev. or hand off to their kid to tear up.
post #19 of 22
"The Netherlands cheap out by simply applying new antennas to current towers" Other way round if you want to call 'cheaping out'. 800Mhz is more a standard European 4G. In the UK the iPhone 5 is restricted to EE with the recently sold UK 4G band all being iPhone 5 incompatible. Apple rushed to release the iPhone 5 so have sold an for America 4G to a European audience. iPhone 5s will be European compatible am sure.
post #20 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by aBeliefSystem View Post

"The Netherlands cheap out by simply applying new antennas to current towers" Other way round if you want to call 'cheaping out'. 800Mhz is more a standard European 4G. In the UK the iPhone 5 is restricted to EE with the recently sold UK 4G band all being iPhone 5 incompatible. Apple rushed to release the iPhone 5 so have sold an for America 4G to a European audience. iPhone 5s will be European compatible am sure.

Indeed, the 800MHz is more standard, but still is 'cheating out' because the telcos refuse to install more towers to install the 2600MHz antennas. Weaker signal, but more bandwidth. It's basically the rush to market strategy, which I understand, but would like to see companies put in some forward thinking and invest in the future, as opposed to rush to market.
I’d rather have a better product than a better price.
Reply
I’d rather have a better product than a better price.
Reply
post #21 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by tonton View Post


Both.
Apple hasn't updated the carrier settings to enable LTE.
The carrier says Apple. Hence the lawsuit.
Some are, some aren't.
The phones work perfectly well on the 3G network.
Without knowing the exact nature of communications between the carrier and Apple, thats the info we have.

 

Very helpful of you. Thanks.
post #22 of 22
'Apple hasn't updated the carrier settings to enable LTE.' They certainly did in Switzerland for a carrier who seemingly played cat and mouse with Apple.. Almost looks like they blacklist commercial reasons until an agreement is met.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: iPhone
AppleInsider › Forums › Mobile › iPhone › Locked sales of Apple's iPhone challenged in Hong Kong