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Apple said to have signed landmark 3G iPhone deal for Italy

post #1 of 122
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Apple Inc.'s next-generation iPhone will arrive in Italy in a matter of weeks under a landmark deal that will see handset sold through Telecom Italia Mobile (TIM) without a contract and carrier lock, according to Repubblica.

The authoritative Italian newspaper reports (by way of Macitynet) that a formal agreement on the matter was signed last week when Franco Bernabè, chief executive officer of TIM's parent company Telecom Italia, met with Steve Jobs at Apple's Cupertino-based headquarters.

Under the terms of the deal, TIM will reportedly receive a several month exclusive on sales of a 3G iPhone through its retail shops, which will be staffed with specialists who are trained to support iPhone customers and get the touch-screen handsets up and running on the carrier's 3G network.

Given that Italians are the number one consumer of pre-paid wireless contracts worldwide each year, Apple is also reported to have agreed to terms by which the new iPhone will be sold at a higher price than in other European countries, but without a carrier lock and two-year service agreement.

The move would represent a radical departure from the revenue-share based service model that has led to successful launches of the iPhone in the US and a handful of European countries, but would offer Italians the added freedom of being able to purchase the phone from TIM and use it with existing contracts on rival carriers' networks.

Consumers who opt to use TIM's network would be able to pick from predefined service plans tailored to the iPhone, or purchase minutes and data bundles as they go, Repubblica said.

The Italian carrier reportedly declined to comment on the report at this time, saying they'll have something to say "later on."

TIM's subscriber base of roughly 36.6 million is similar in size to that of T-Mobile Germany, with whom Apple launched the iPhone last November. However, it's estimated that more than 50 percent of Italy's wireless subscribers are already TIM customers.

TIM also operates the second largest wireless network in Brazil, in addition to a much smaller network in Turkey.

Italy's Il Sole 24 Ore.com is also running a a similar story on the deal between Apple and TIM.
post #2 of 122
Please tell me it's coming to Japan soon!

 

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post #3 of 122
Fine, fine, but not satisfied 'till it finally arrives in the Netherlands. GET ON WITH IT!
post #4 of 122
Based on Italians I know, there is no doubt that the iPhone will do very well in Italy. The structure of this deal, unlocked iPhones, makes a lot of sense. Anything that didn't allow italians to choose their own carrier would have been pointless. There would have been massive jailbreak software utilization.

I think this revised business model may well pave the way for 3G contracts in other markets. I wonder what Apple will do to give primary partners some kind of competitive edge?

In the UK, Vodafone has suffered a fairly significant customer migration to O2. Which serves it right for totally underestimating the potential of the iPhone even with 2.5G. They would be delighted to get their hands on 3G iPhones, through a similar deal that enabled unlocked iPhones to access the Vodafone network.

So good luck italy. Let's just hope that TIM can provide customer service equal in quality to the phone..
post #5 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Given that Italians are the number one consumer of pre-paid wireless contracts worldwide each year, ...

A prepaid contract is an oxymoron. Prepaid customers do avoid contracts.
post #6 of 122
They have had Italian on the iPhone since day one, but oddly there is no Spanish which is #2 in America and the 1st language of many Americans.
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post #7 of 122
It would be nice if these deals Apple makes with the carriers could carry over to their operations in all the countries they operate in. The thing would get much faster distribution that way.

Anyone have an idea what that higher price may be?

And it's less than five weeks before the ACD. It's almost time to start a countdown.
post #8 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by dreyfus2 View Post

A prepaid contract is an oxymoron. Prepaid customers do avoid contracts.

It is a contract. It's just not a long term commitment to a specific monthly fee.
post #9 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by dreyfus2 View Post

A prepaid contract is an oxymoron. Prepaid customers do avoid contracts.

edit: pipped by Melgross.
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post #10 of 122
I could go along with the idea of an early release in Australia for test-marketing purposes (since it is a tad out of the way, and less likely there will be a grey market).

But I am a little suspicious re. Italy being a matter of 'few weeks.' I doubt that it will be released there before it is released in the US. Second, it will p-o Apple's partners in France, UK, and Germany, so I expect that Apple will want to do it simultaneously in those countries too. (Moreover, they already have the distribution network and trained staff in place, so it would be silly not to). Or, it is going to end up being priced so ridiculously high (a la France for the unlocked version) that it will make nary a difference.
post #11 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tailpipe View Post

So good luck italy. Let's just hope that TIM can provide customer service equal in quality to the phone..

I've been a TIM user since 1999, and a business user for the past year and a half (I was strictly prepaid before that), and I have to say that TIM's customer service doesn't suck I've seen far worse (specifically, AT&T's when I'm in the United States).

What could be better is TIM's offering in terms of data plans, which are still not that convenient, especially in light of the anticipated iPhone boom. Considering that TIM's so-called all-inclusive plans are not really all-inclusive (and that the "Unlimited" plan is not really unlimited), I hope they are going to address that issue as well. After all, an increase in iPhone prices could be justified only by particularly advantageous (or, at least, reasonable) voice and data plans.

(Although, I have to say, quite a few Italians would buy it just because it is expensive...)
post #12 of 122
Quote:
Apple is also reported to have agreed to terms by which the new iPhone will be sold at a higher price than in other European countries, but without a carrier lock and two-year service agreement.

Doesn't France also have "unlocked" iPhones which can only be used in France?
post #13 of 122
if they don't announce it for Ireland, I'll be going for a Nokia N96

Why is Italy allowed to have a contract free iphone and Ireland isn't?
post #14 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by anomagnus View Post

if they don't announce it for Ireland, I'll be going for a Nokia N96

Why is Italy allowed to have a contract free iphone and Ireland isn't?

Um, maybe because Italy has more active cell phones than people (literally, and the statistics include newborn babies in the count), so I guess it's a pretty interesting market.

Personally, I'll be glad when I can be freed of the eternal dilemma: "Nokia or SonyEricsson?"

post #15 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

It is a contract. It's just not a long term commitment to a specific monthly fee.

You go to a newspaper stand or supermarket and buy a SIM, put it into the phone, and that's it. You do not sign nothing, so it is not a contract by any stretch. Buying the NYT or a chocolate bar does not constitute a contract either.

The only exception is with buying subsidized phones for prepaid cards, in which case to have to sign a contract agreeing to the SIM-lock (and conditions for future unlocking, if applicable).
post #16 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by dreyfus2 View Post

You go to a newspaper stand or supermarket and buy a SIM, put it into the phone, and that's it. You do not sign nothing, so it is not a contract by any stretch. Buying the NYT or a chocolate bar does not constitute a contract either.

I see your point there, but how can you make calls with that SIM?
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post #17 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by Haggar View Post

Doesn't France also have "unlocked" iPhones which can only be used in France?

As an owner of a French unlocked iPhone, I can assure you they work absolutely everywhere with any SIM operating on a supported GSM band. There was a bug with the CallerID handling in Firmware 1.1.2 and earlier - since 1.1.3 the iPhone can be used with any SIM without jailbreaking. BTW, the unlocked iPhones sold in Germany for a short period of time do also work everywhere since 1.1.3.
post #18 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I see your point there, but how can you make calls with that SIM?

Well, the PIN code, your own phone number and instructions for filling up the account are in the envelope. Nothing else needed. A lot of common prepaid providers do have refill self-service stations in selected supermarkets and public places (like railway stations and shopping malls) - just enter your phone number and slide in a credit card or cash - that's it.

In some countries you are required to fax a copy of your ID or Passport to the provider, because legislation might not allow use of anonymous phones. This proceeding varies a bit, in some countries you need to do this before you can use the SIM at all, in others you have one or two weeks after activation... (not sure how this makes sense though - two weeks should be sufficient for terrorist use).
post #19 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by dreyfus2 View Post

You go to a newspaper stand or supermarket and buy a SIM, put it into the phone, and that's it. You do not sign nothing, so it is not a contract by any stretch. Buying the NYT or a chocolate bar does not constitute a contract either.

The only exception is with buying subsidized phones for prepaid cards, in which case to have to sign a contract agreeing to the SIM-lock (and conditions for future unlocking, if applicable).

Anytime you buy something, it's a contract. You may not realize it, but it's true. You've contracted to pay a certain amount of money up front for a certain number of minutes of calls. That's a contract.
post #20 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by antiorario View Post

Um, maybe because Italy has more active cell phones than people (literally, and the statistics include newborn babies in the count), so I guess it's a pretty interesting market.

What? You mean just like Ireland?
post #21 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by dreyfus2 View Post

Well, the PIN code, your own phone number and instructions for filling up the account are in the envelope. Nothing else needed. A lot of common prepaid providers do have refill self-service stations in selected supermarkets and public places (like railway stations and shopping malls) - just enter your phone number and slide in a credit card or cash - that's it.

So the SIM you are buying also comes with minutes appended. That, like Melgross stated, is a contract. It's not the typical image of a long legal document that has to be signed in triplicate, but it's a contractual obligation. If the carrier didn't give yo access to their network you have recourse to go after them for not supplying the service you expected.

Quote:
In some countries you are required to fax a copy of your ID or Passport to the provider, because legislation might not allow use of anonymous phones.

Delhi was like that, but I'm told it was only for that city and not the whole of India. Pretty much a pain in the ass all around. They also cut all cell phone service for several hours in Delhi on their day of independence. I was told it was to keep potential terrorists from communicating, but I think they would go to sat phones if they were determined.
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post #22 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by anomagnus View Post

if they don't announce it for Ireland, I'll be going for a Nokia N96

Why is Italy allowed to have a contract free iphone and Ireland isn't?

The article does state the following:
Quote:
Given that Italians are the number one consumer of pre-paid wireless contracts worldwide each year.
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post #23 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bergermeister View Post

Please tell me it's coming to Japan soon!

Knowing your luck, Mr. Meister, I truly hope it does not come with a tilted screen!
post #24 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

Anytime you buy something, it's a contract. You may not realize it, but it's true. You've contracted to pay a certain amount of money up front for a certain number of minutes of calls. That's a contract.

Without nitpicking - yes, a sale constitutes a contract. In this case between me and the reseller (e.g. the operator of that newspaper stand). But besides that (District of Columbia Court of Appeals): "For there to be an enforceable contract, there must be mutual assent of each party to all of the essential terms of the contract..." This would at least require to be presented with terms and conditions - in quite some countries you can definitely get prepaid SIM cards without being told about any terms and conditions, most of the resellers cannot even give you details on per minute and data charges or conditions for reimbursement of credit. You might consider this "some kind of contract", in case of a legal dispute it is nothing.

Anyhow, the topic is not that important
post #25 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by dreyfus2 View Post

Without nitpicking - yes, a sale constitutes a contract. In this case between me and the reseller (e.g. the operator of that newspaper stand). But besides that (District of Columbia Court of Appeals): "For there to be an enforceable contract, there must be mutual assent of each party to all of the essential terms of the contract..." This would at least require to be presented with terms and conditions - in quite some countries you can definitely get prepaid SIM cards without being told about any terms and conditions, most of the resellers cannot even give you details on per minute and data charges or conditions for reimbursement of credit. You might consider this "some kind of contract", in case of a legal dispute it is nothing.

Anyhow, the topic is not that important

It may be minor, but you insist in continuing it, so I shall as well. In most countries, the mere purchase is a contract, legalize missing or not. There is a part of law that "assumes" you are accepting a contract, even if you are not being presented with one.

If, for example, you "contract" to buy 60 minutes, but find that you only received 45, then you could sue. If it could be proved that you were correct, you would win.

You have to remember that a contract holds true for ALL parties.

But, your part is generally over once you pay your money.
post #26 of 122
There is a lot of information in the link below, but upon perusing I did not see a spscific term outside of the general defintion of 'contract' that backs up Melgross' initial statement.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contract edit1: It appears that this would be a "unilateral contract" in which the seller agrees to offer a service but the customer is not required to buy or use.

edit2: Some more eye-glossing reading material:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sale_of_Goods_Act_1979
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uniform_Commercial_Code
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post #27 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

But I am a little suspicious re. Italy being a matter of 'few weeks.' I doubt that it will be released there before it is released in the US. Second, it will p-o Apple's partners in France, UK, and Germany, so I expect that Apple will want to do it simultaneously in those countries too.

Yeah, I was wondering about this too. This is the side of the story that I find most interesting.

When AI reports that they are getting "a several month exclusive on sales of a 3G iPhone" do they mean only in Italy or worldwide? If it is a worldwide exclusive, then Apple is showing Italian consumers some serious respect. I can't imagine other countries providers would like that though...

Could they be trying to time this so that the phones are available in Europe at the same time that the regulatory filing with the FCC in the use goes public?
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post #28 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bageljoey View Post

Yeah, I was wondering about this too. This is the side of the story that I find most interesting.

When AI reports that they are getting "a several month exclusive on sales of a 3G iPhone" do they mean only in Italy or worldwide? If it is a worldwide exclusive, then Apple is showing Italian consumers some serious respect. I can't imagine other countries providers would like that though...

Could they be trying to time this so that the phones are available in Europe at the same time that the regulatory filing with the FCC in the use goes public?

If it's a worldwide exclusive --- then it's worse off for Italian consumers because there will be organized businesses just buying all the iphones in Italy to be exported worldwide. Then Apple will have to force people to buy by (Italian) credit card only, 2 iphones per person....
post #29 of 122
Something else related to the 3G iPhone:

3G iPhone in May, new mobile device at WWDC 2008?
post #30 of 122
I will be in Italy starting June 15 for over a month. I am a T-Mobile user here in the states. My questions is, would I be able to put my t-mobile sim in the Italian 3g iPhone and have it work in the US? My Blackberry 8100 isn't a world-phone so I need to buy an Italian cellphone anyway. If the 3g Italian iPhone would work for me there and then work when I got home, I'd be in. Any thoughts?
post #31 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by thes3cond View Post

I will be in Italy starting June 15 for over a month. I am a T-Mobile user here in the states. My questions is, would I be able to put my t-mobile sim in the Italian 3g iPhone and have it work in the US? My Blackberry 8100 isn't a world-phone so I need to buy an Italian cellphone anyway. If the 3g Italian iPhone would work for me there and then work when I got home, I'd be in. Any thoughts?

I believe you will for phone and EDGE, but you aren't going to get WCDMA/HSDPA/HSUPA data because of the different frequencies used by T-Mobile in the US.

I think this is going to make a lot of T-Mobile users with unlocked iPhones move to AT&T. I know of a couple that are going to make the reluctant move when 3G comes out.
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post #32 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by samab View Post

Then Apple will have to force people to buy by (Italian) credit card only, 2 iphones per person....

So? Or did you forget to add a </sarcasm> tag?
post #33 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

So? Or did you forget to add a </sarcasm> tag?

So you ended up with the Italians unable to buy the 3G iphones because they are all bought up by businesses to be exported to China.
post #34 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by samab View Post

So you ended up with the Italians unable to buy the 3G iphones because they are all bought up by businesses to be exported to China.

And that is Apple's fault? Perhaps I am being dense, but I am not getting your point.
post #35 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by Haggar View Post

Doesn't France also have "unlocked" iPhones which can only be used in France?

They have phones that are unlocked but can be used everywhere.
post #36 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by samab View Post

If it's a worldwide exclusive --- then it's worse off for Italian consumers because there will be organized businesses just buying all the iphones in Italy to be exported worldwide. Then Apple will have to force people to buy by (Italian) credit card only, 2 iphones per person....

It will certainly not be world-wide exclusive, not even exclusive for Europe. But once they start selling unlocked phones anywhere in the world - this will pretty much be the beginning of the end for exclusive and locked phones everywhere (except maybe those countries with exclusive arrangements already in place, which is the highly interesting part here - the first will be last or so ).

Of course they can limit sales per person, but limiting sales to Italian credit card holders is not really an option. There is no sustainable approach to legally discriminate other Europeans when doing business anywhere in the EU. The prepaid market in Italy is about 90% of the mobile market and credit cards are also not as common as in the US.
post #37 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

Anytime you buy something, it's a contract. You may not realize it, but it's true. You've contracted to pay a certain amount of money up front for a certain number of minutes of calls. That's a contract.

Maybe it is like that in the US but in Europe you buy a prepaid card. If you do not recharge it when the credits run out, you can then only receive calls for either 3 or 6 months. Some countries allow more. This is really not that hard to understand. I prepaid contract is for people who do not want to be tied to a subscription.
post #38 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by sapporobaby View Post

Maybe it is like that in the US but in Europe you buy a prepaid card. If you do not recharge it when the credits run out, you can then only receive calls for either 3 or 6 months. Some countries allow more. This is really not that hard to understand. I prepaid contract is for people who do not want to be tied to a subscription.

It's still a contract, no matter what the actual deal is.
post #39 of 122
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post #40 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

It's still a contract, no matter what the actual deal is.

so if I buy gas for my car it is a contract too? I don't see how this is different:
I have a phone, I need credit to call -or- I have a car, I need gas to drive

if I pay for 60 mins and only get 45 mins I take it up with the seller,
just like when I buy 60 liters of gas and only get 45 liters.
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