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Are Apple going to be in trouble with the EU?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I've been thinking about the reported deals for iPhone distribution in Europe. At present you get a phone free or subisidised with your current network provider and even if Apple breaks this model by charging us full price the phone is still YOURS. But if, as reported, EU countries will limited to one network supplier per country and Apple gets 10% of the money from the users data use etc. what happens when the contract lapses? Technically that phone is yours and therefore you should be able to use it even after the contract has terminated. Not only that but I'd have thought that based on previous precedents, Apple would be in breach of EU law if that product became unusable because of techonolgy THEY had built in which either disabled the phone on the lapse of the contract or disabled its features. BUT, if it's to take this into account then how can it maintain its 10% share of a user's phone usage if they don't have an agreement with another network which the end user may move to?
post #2 of 11
Well technicallty networks should provide you with an unlocking code at the end of your contract however theres nothing to say it has to work with other networks. I dont think branded phones like the Sharp 903 ever were unlocked to other networks although I may be wrong.

Anyway if its an exclusive network as it will be and Apple employ the same rule for activating the phone then unlocking isnt a good idea.

I guess the theory is that by the time your contract is up you will proceed to gets Apples next phone assuming one is out by then which im sure it will be.
post #3 of 11
The EU is mainly concerned about competition between member states, not within each state. Different countries can have different laws regarding unlocking phones and switching carriers inside those countries. I imagine that Apple will be aware of those laws and we could see different arrangements not just from those in place in the US but also between EU countries.

Where the EU is concerned, however, is our abilities to use our phones in countries other than our homes within the EU - hence their recent rulings about roaming fees. I would imagine they will look very closely at the data charges while roaming. They might also be concerned about our ability to take our, say, "UK iPhone" and activate it in, say, France - should we decide to move.

These are not iPhone specific problems, though, even if the iPhone might highlight them in a way they have not been up till now.
post #4 of 11
Just as a heads up -- in the US, you had to activate your iPhone ONLY with the area code in which you lived -- you could activate it, say, in NYC while on vacation (like I did on day 1) but you have no choice as to the area code with which you can activate it - it must be your home area code assigned by your cellphone carrier by location in which you reside and where you receive your bills.

I assume they will use the same arrangement in the EU. As to what happens after the term is over? (In the US it's two years, who knows how long in the EU) you have the option of extending your contract of course -- it will keep working as long as you stay with that carrier no matter what phone you use.

It's not really specific to the iPhone -- look at the EU contracts for smartphones and blackberries, many of which have also been locked to providers for many years now (as my French Orange blackberry can attest, which sits nicely in the closet until my next trip to Paris)

The iPhone is considered a smartphone/PDA phone...as such, they can skirt around some of the "unlocking" laws for standard cellphones, just like they have for other smartphones. There is already precedent.
post #5 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by RonAnnArbor View Post

Just as a heads up -- in the US, you had to activate your iPhone ONLY with the area code in which you lived -- you could activate it, say, in NYC while on vacation (like I did on day 1) but you have no choice as to the area code with which you can activate it - it must be your home area code assigned by your cellphone carrier by location in which you reside and where you receive your bills.

I assume they will use the same arrangement in the EU. As to what happens after the term is over? (In the US it's two years, who knows how long in the EU) you have the option of extending your contract of course -- it will keep working as long as you stay with that carrier no matter what phone you use.

It's not really specific to the iPhone -- look at the EU contracts for smartphones and blackberries, many of which have also been locked to providers for many years now (as my French Orange blackberry can attest, which sits nicely in the closet until my next trip to Paris)

The iPhone is considered a smartphone/PDA phone...as such, they can skirt around some of the "unlocking" laws for standard cellphones, just like they have for other smartphones. There is already precedent.

I am afraid you are quite incorrect here, there is no differentiation made between smart phones and normal phones at all. It is perfectly legal to sell any phone locked to a network in Europe, Orange in the UK have always had their handsets locked to their network, 3 also have a locked handset system in place. The only country in the EU that has made it illegal to sell network locked phones is Belgium.

What the law says however and this is where the rules differ greatly with the US is that every operator must allow their customers phone to be unlocked if asked. They are allowed to charge a fee but they have to unlock or allow the phone to be unlocked. This is the same for PDA's and smart-phones. So in the UK at least selling a locked phone is perfectly legal, selling a phone that cannot be unlocked is not.

So in Europe the network operators get around this by giving away the handsets for nothing or in some cases selling the handsets at a greatly reduced price. The real cost of the handset is subsidised by the network and repaid as part of the monthly commitment, so in reality you are bound by your contract length because you have not paid for the goods until you have completed your contract, usually 1 year but nowadays 2 years is common.

So this to me has to point to a different pricing model in Europe for the iPhone, i cannot see how Apple will sign a network willing to work to the same model as the US, there is nothing in it for the network at all. You could easily buy an iPhone and sign up for a contract with the network but then unlock your iphone and use it where you want, the network may hold you to the contract but if you stop paying they cannot take the phone from you, realistically you are looking at being chased by debt collectors and taken to court but if you have not used the service i am not sure whether you can really be forced to pay for it, contract or no contract. The whole thing would be a mess that no operator surely will want to be involved in.

So you heard it here first folks, the iPhone in Europe might well be free!
post #6 of 11
LOL. You made me laugh tonight.

Apple is selling the iPhone exactly like the iPods...one set price, take it or leave it. It is not going to be free in Europe. It might even cost more than it did in the US.

As to the network, there is NOTHING IN IT for ATT in the USA either -- all they got were some people that switched plans from other carriers to them if they wanted the iPhone -- Apple is the one that made the money on this deal, not ATT. It is also why no other network wanted the arrangement.

I don't want to belabor the point -- this argument continues in every single Apple and cellphone forum there is -- but you can expect that Apple is indeed going to introduce a different model in Europe from what you are used to. And people are going to scream and complain the same way they are doing here in the States.

Apple has never been in the "listen to the customer" business -- they create a model, you pay for it, and adapt to their system, not the other way around. It's a model that has always worked for them, and has worked amazingly well with the iPhone so far as well.
post #7 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by RonAnnArbor View Post

LOL. You made me laugh tonight.

As to the network, there is NOTHING IN IT for ATT in the USA either -- all they got were some people that switched plans from other carriers to them if they wanted the iPhone -- Apple is the one that made the money on this deal, not ATT. It is also why no other network wanted the arrangement.


You are wrong dude, read my post again. Of course there is something in it for AT&T, as the law stands in the US AT&T/Apple are allowed to sell a phone that cannot be unlocked. This means that AT&T are safe in the knowledge that every iPhone sold will only work on their network! And you are incredibly stupid if you think thet AT&T are not making any money from iPhone customers, that really is a dumb thing to say. Of course AT&T make money from iPhone customers, where do you think the service charges go???

This wil not be the same in the UK, totally different market, totally different laws. It will require a totally different pricing model. Okay i do not know this 100% and this may be a guess on my part but it is an educated guess using the facts available to me, you however have presented no facts or reasons to support your argument.
post #8 of 11
Apparently YOU are the one not keeping up with released information.

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/17aa89d0-5...0779fd2ac.html

From the Financial Times:

It will be locked to specific carriers in each country
It will NOT offer a subsidy but will cost full price
post #9 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by RonAnnArbor View Post

Apparently YOU are the one not keeping up with released information.

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/17aa89d0-5...0779fd2ac.html

From the Financial Times:

It will be locked to specific carriers in each country
It will NOT offer a subsidy but will cost full price

No, Apparentley YOU are not keeping up with released information

http://www.forbes.com/markets/feeds/...fx4048336.html

Quote:
France Telecom's Orange says no deal yet on Apple iPhone; others also in talks
post #10 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by murphyweb View Post

No, Apparentley YOU are not keeping up with released information

http://www.forbes.com/markets/feeds/...fx4048336.html

I wasn't specifically referring to Orange. I was referring to the information that Apple HAS released which is that it WILL be locked, and that it WILL NOT be subsidized.

Argue all you want, I think Europe needs to brace itself for the way Apple does business. In fact, I predict that the price of the iPhone will be HIGHER in Europe and Asia than it is in the US because it is indeed subsidized by ATT here to the tune of 2/3 of it's cost over two years.

At any rate, save up your money. Your not getting one for free no matter who ends up singing your contract with Apple.
post #11 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by RonAnnArbor View Post

I wasn't specifically referring to Orange. I was referring to the information that Apple HAS released which is that it WILL be locked, and that it WILL NOT be subsidized.

Argue all you want, I think Europe needs to brace itself for the way Apple does business. In fact, I predict that the price of the iPhone will be HIGHER in Europe and Asia than it is in the US because it is indeed subsidized by ATT here to the tune of 2/3 of it's cost over two years.

At any rate, save up your money. Your not getting one for free no matter who ends up singing your contract with Apple.

Well thanks for that golden nugget of advice, but as my posts clearly state in live in Australia and unless Australia has suddenly become part of Europe since i went to bed then this aint an issue for the time being.
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