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French appeals court upholds ruling against iPhone exclusivity

post #1 of 48
Thread Starter 
A French appeals court has thrown out France Telecom's attempt to restore its exclusive rights to the iPhone, upholding a December ruling handed down by competition regulators.

France Telecom's wireless carrier Orange signed a five-year deal with Apple to carry the iPhone 3G, leading rival mobile phone service provider Bouygues Telecom to file a complaint last September joined by its fellow competitors.

On Dec. 17 the Competition Council sided with Bouygues, saying the deal risked "serious and immediate damage" to competition because of its "excessive" length and that all future iPhone agreements would be capped at a maximum of 3 months. Both Apple and Orange appealed.

However, the appeals court has denied the two partners in today's ruling, available in this French-language PDF. France Telecom told Reuters it plans to file another appeal with the Cour de Cassation, the highest court in France.

Bouygues Telecom, which is the No. 3 mobile operator in the European country, welcomed the ruling and indicated company officials are already engaged in negotiations with Apple to sell iPhones linked to its own network.

"With this decision, Bouygues Telecome will soon offer the iPhone as soon as the conditions for distribution (are) finalized with Apple," the company said in a press release translated from its original French. "This decision is a significant step forward for consumers who can now choose freely."

France's No. 2 operator, Vivendi-owned SFR, and Britain's Vodafone also embraced the news.

Analysts cited in the Reuters report estimate losses of 200 million euros (or $260.7 million) in sales for France Telecom as a result of the decision.

Orange claims it sold more than 600,000 iPhones in France since they went on sale in November 2007.
post #2 of 48
I'm glad.
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post #3 of 48
Too bad this has not happened in the United States.

Would love other carriers to sell the iPhone.
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post #4 of 48
Too bad the lawmakers in the USA don't pass something similar to free the iPhone from AT&T but alas they're too busy spending our tax monies and avoiding paying their own.
post #5 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

Too bad the lawmakers in the USA don't pass something similar to free the iPhone from AT&T

Honestly it doesn't mean much to me since the iPhone won't be fully functional on any other carrier besides AT&T in the US.
post #6 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by yensid98 View Post

Honestly it doesn't mean much to me since the iPhone won't be fully functional on any other carrier besides AT&T in the US.

Good for you- but for many others it would mean an iPhone finally without dropped or staticky calls.
post #7 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by yensid98 View Post

Honestly it doesn't mean much to me since the iPhone won't be fully functional on any other carrier besides AT&T in the US.

T-Mobile is GSM.
post #8 of 48
So, Apple can't choose who it can sell it's products to now?
I hope they at least get to demand things like visual voicemail to be implemented first... that's a part of the iPhone experience.
From my past experience, Bouygues sucks big time.
post #9 of 48
I think this is great news.

Naturally Orange will earn less revenue if rival carriers are allowed to sell the iPhone, so i wonder now that the deal isn't Exclusive, will Orange need to revisit the agreement in terms of payments to Apple.
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post #10 of 48
Reading over the decision...
It looks like Bouygues saw that Orange (FT) was selling TONS of phones and losing subscribers, so they asked Apple to let them sell iPhones. Apple has (or had now) contracts for 5 years with Orange, so they said no.

Bouygues filed suit.

In the judgment, they talk about the ipod and how much of the market it has, and that music was wrapped in Apple's DRM - not that that should have anything to do with the iPhone being sold by Orange exclusively... then is says that that doesn't matter much anymore (not that it should have anyways) since Itunes is going non-DRM.

Then, it says that Orange made 140 million euros but only invested 16.5 million. So, obviously, that's "largely disproportionate"! Shame on them for making a great investment when no one else would!!

The judgment then states that there was not a risk that Orange would lose money because Apple is well known in the tech world and the iPhone was a hit in America.

Orange is having too much success in the limited (voluntarily by the government!) mobile phone market.

Therefore, apparently, there is an iPhone market, and Orange has (had) a monopoly.
3-6 months is ok, but 5 years is not ok.

So, when can I go to a BP gas station and get Fina gas if I choose? How about going to Auchan and getting Cora brand chips? I am a consumer merde! Give me what I want!
post #11 of 48
This won't make a bit of difference. They will charge way more money for the iPhone through other carriers. I'm sure someone will buy them, but the masses will still flock to Orange or the reasonable pricing.
post #12 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by studiomusic View Post

So, Apple can't choose who it can sell it's products to now?
I hope they at least get to demand things like visual voicemail to be implemented first... that's a part of the iPhone experience.
From my past experience, Bouygues sucks big time.

Visual Voicemail isn't part of the iPhone experience. I bought my iPhone on O2 pay as you go, and you don't get visual voicemail with that.
post #13 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by OriginalMacRat View Post

T-Mobile is GSM.

Sure, but the Infineon chip that Apple uses in the iPhone 3G misses the 1700 MHz band that T-Mobile uses in the US. Good luck.
post #14 of 48
More carriers = More iPhone sale = Good news for Apple = Good news for shareholders

Also,

More iPhone sale = Bad news for other phone makers
post #15 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roos24 View Post

Sure, but the Infineon chip that Apple uses in the iPhone 3G misses the 1700 MHz band that T-Mobile uses in the US. Good luck.

It will work just fine with T-Mobile's 1900 MHz GSM/EDGE. The data speeds won't be as fast as 3G (actually, considering how fubared AT&T's 3G network is, it actually might), but it'll work, and you'll usually want to be using WiFi for data anyway. And of course, voice calls will work just fine, and you'll get better battery life to boot.
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post #16 of 48
I wonder if this will open the door for non-French owned networks to move into France.

After all aren't those laws also restricting people's choices?
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post #17 of 48
No, ATT's 3G is really not that bad.

The iPhone uses more data by itself than every other model of smartphone combined. Since no other US carrier has a phone that uses nearly as much data as the iPhone, their is no way to know if their networks could handle a similar load with no problems.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlesS View Post

It will work just fine with T-Mobile's 1900 MHz GSM/EDGE. The data speeds won't be as fast as 3G (actually, considering how fubared AT&T's 3G network is, it actually might).
post #18 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

too bad the lawmakers in the usa don't pass something similar to free the iphone from at&t but alas they're too busy spending our tax monies and avoiding paying their own.

amen!!
post #19 of 48
I suppose Apple don't HAVE to sell the iPhone to them. And if they do they can charge them more due to the lack of a distribution deal.

If I was an Apple exec I would screw the shit out of any other networks that wanted the handset. If those fucks didn't want to play ball in the first place now is the time to 'maximise' your profits.
post #20 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

Too bad the lawmakers in the USA don't pass something similar to free the iPhone from AT&T but alas they're too busy spending our tax monies and avoiding paying their own.

That kind of thinking is penny wise and dollar stupid.

The whole problem for France is that they have only 3 national carriers (and all three carriers are French owned).

This is like the movie Casablanca where the French official said: "I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here." Suddenly, the French competition regulator found out that "I'm shocked, shocked to find that France Telecom owns close to 1/2 the French mobile telecom market."

Hell, give out a fourth and possibly a fifth telecom license (and allow foreign companies to own a French carrier) --- and you would find enough competition in France. The best iphone deals in the whole world is Hong Kong (6 carriers) and UK (5 carriers).
post #21 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrochester View Post

Visual Voicemail isn't part of the iPhone experience. I bought my iPhone on O2 pay as you go, and you don't get visual voicemail with that.

You only get it with pay monthly, which is a rip off as you already pay a premium call rate.

Would be great if iPhone was available on all 3G networks in the uk. I don't want to leave Orange. However if Apple rolls it out over the networks once the contract is over, it'll be 3rd or 4th gen, lovely.
post #22 of 48
Not surprising for a country where it is illegal to work more than 35 hours per week.
post #23 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by samab View Post

The best iphone deals in the whole world is Hong Kong (6 carriers) and UK (5 carriers).

Still only one carrier in UK for iPhone. http://forums.appleinsider.com/image...embarassed.gif
post #24 of 48
Too many Stellas

post #25 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Workshy View Post

You only get it with pay monthly, which is a rip off as you already pay a premium call rate.

Would be great if iPhone was available on all 3G networks in the uk. I don't want to leave Orange. However if Apple rolls it out over the networks once the contract is over, it'll be 3rd or 4th gen, lovely.

How is it a rip off? If you are on contract then you pay a fixed amount every month whereas on PAYG there is no guarantee of any level of revenue from the user whatsoever, unless they start to charge for voicemail usage, maybe you would like that then?.

Ask yourself the question, if you were O2 would you spend money on providing visual voicemail for someone who may only spend £10 a year?
post #26 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Workshy View Post

You only get it with pay monthly, which is a rip off as you already pay a premium call rate.

Would be great if iPhone was available on all 3G networks in the uk. I don't want to leave Orange. However if Apple rolls it out over the networks once the contract is over, it'll be 3rd or 4th gen, lovely.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Workshy View Post

Still only one carrier in UK for iPhone.

Among all the iphone monthly plans in the whole world, the UK iphone plans are one of the cheapest.

The iphone being available to all the networks in a single country is over-rated. Just look at Italy --- it's available for multiple networks, but the plans still suck big time (starts with idiotic 250 MB data allowance).
post #27 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by irnchriz View Post

How is it a rip off? If you are on contract then you pay a fixed amount every month whereas on PAYG there is no guarantee of any level of revenue from the user whatsoever, unless they start to charge for voicemail usage, maybe you would like that then?.

Ask yourself the question, if you were O2 would you spend money on providing visual voicemail for someone who may only spend £10 a year?

They provide unlimited data and wifi for a year, so I can't see what big a difference adding visual voicemail would do!
post #28 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by samab View Post

Among all the iphone monthly plans in the whole world, the UK iphone plans are one of the cheapest.

It only appears that way, because their exchange rate is in the crapper...

Quote:
The iphone being available to all the networks in a single country is over-rated. Just look at Italy --- it's available for multiple networks, but the plans still suck big time (starts with idiotic 250 MB data allowance).

You can't compare rates between countries. For example Austrians will laugh about German plans, iPhone or not. You have to compare the iPhone plans to every other plan in that country.

Here in Germany, the rates are okay for T-Mobile. But, T-Mobile is the most expensive carrier, so even a regular T-Mobile plan is rather expensive. Sure, they also have the best network, but I don't need reception in every small village. I'd rather go for a little less reception and 1/2 or 1/3 of the price. So, yay consumer choice...
post #29 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cubert View Post

Not surprising for a country where it is illegal to work more than 35 hours per week.

Funny, cause I just happen to live and work in here...
I do work far more than 35 hours a week (more than 50 actually), just like a lot of other french people...

Quote:
Originally Posted by irnchriz View Post

Exactly, fucking Communism thru the back door. These fucking assholes burn thru 6 billion+ pounds per year that they CAN'T account for and we are expected to trust them?!?!?!?!?

Fucking clowns.

Please, don't tell me you still believe in this French=Communists crap... God I wonder in which cave where you stupid haters have been living (and reproducing) duting the last 30 years.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JimMcDosh View Post

Like anyone really cares what the stupid french kangaroo courts say! I mean really.

RT
www.online-anonymity.at.tc

You care, since you "debate" about it.
More seriously (and beyond all the hate speech above, glad to see ppl love us, cuz we don't give a f... about others), this is interesting news for both Apple and potential iPhone owners that were waiting for it to be available with other French carriers. Now let's see if Apple deals with Bouygues and SFR will be more interesting than Orange.
post #30 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cubert
Not surprising for a country where it is illegal to work more than 35 hours per week.

I do work more than 50 hours per week like most French people. You could have argued that we have more holidays than most other nations (except Germany...).

Quote:
Originally Posted by irnchriz
Exactly, fucking Communism thru the back door. These fucking assholes burn thru 6 billion+ pounds per year that they CAN'T account for and we are expected to trust them?!?!?!?!?

Fucking clowns.

Obvioulsy you understand nothing about economy. In the end, the USA have the biggest debt ever (which they owe to the Chinese in fact) for one single reason : they can print $...


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post #31 of 48
was the FT's answer to that first ruling? iphone 3g 8gb price became 79 eur for the week 18-24 dec 2008, 16gb - 99 eur. I liked resolutions like that. Bouygues' 3G? it doesn't exist...

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post #32 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by foobar View Post

It only appears that way, because their exchange rate is in the crapper...

You can't compare rates between countries. For example Austrians will laugh about German plans, iPhone or not. You have to compare the iPhone plans to every other plan in that country.

Here in Germany, the rates are okay for T-Mobile. But, T-Mobile is the most expensive carrier, so even a regular T-Mobile plan is rather expensive. Sure, they also have the best network, but I don't need reception in every small village. I'd rather go for a little less reception and 1/2 or 1/3 of the price. So, yay consumer choice...

The UK iphone plans are very cheap (compare to the rest of the G7 countries) --- even before considering the exchange rate situation.

That's my whole point --- if the country itself has a healthy mobile industry with enough competition, then it's going to okey. The German telecom market is disfunctional --- the German government still owns a big chunk of DT and has been protecting it against foreign competitions. The EC has been repeatedly suing the German government on government subsidies that benefit DT or shielding DT from competition.
post #33 of 48
While I like the decision, as all these exclusivity contracts/restriction of uses, do not have any benefit for the customer, I believe that the decision will have been quite different if Bouygues have had the exclusivity contract initially.
One has to remember that Bouygues is the very good friend of Sarkosy, and they have been helping each other making tons of money with devious contracts and sales of French assets to Bouygues, only for the French government to buy it a few years later at a very increased price.
post #34 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by studiomusic View Post

So, when can I go to a BP gas station and get Fina gas if I choose? How about going to Auchan and getting Cora brand chips? I am a consumer merde! Give me what I want!

You're analogy is totally flawed. Of course you can only get BP gas in a BP gas station, the same way you can only buy GAP clothes in a GAP store. Clearly a company has the right to restrict what is sold in their own stores.

The equivalent of the Apple / Orange exclusive handset / carrier deal (and many like it around the world) would be like Honda saying you can only use BP gas in their cars. It's one company saying you can only use their product in conjunction with a specific different company's product. That totally stifles competition and ought to be illegal everywhere. The French ruling is a triumph for competition and consumer choice and I welcome it.

Michael.
post #35 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelab View Post

You're analogy is totally flawed. Of course you can only get BP gas in a BP gas station, the same way you can only buy GAP clothes in a GAP store. Clearly a company has the right to restrict what is sold in their own stores.

The equivalent of the Apple / Orange exclusive handset / carrier deal (and many like it around the world) would be like Honda saying you can only use BP gas in their cars. It's one company saying you can only use their product in conjunction with a specific different company's product. That totally stifles competition and ought to be illegal everywhere. The French ruling is a triumph for competition and consumer choice and I welcome it.

Michael.

Plenty of car dealers have been bundling thousand dollar "gas coupons" with a new car purchase --- nothing wrong with that. What about electric cars --- you can only get electricity from your local utility company.

The French ruling is a triumph of government protection of French owned companies against foreign competition and does nothing for consumer choice.

The level of competition differs greatly where the little city of Hong Kong has 6 carriers, UK has 5 carriers, US has 4 carriers, France/Canada has 3 carriers and Norway has 2 carriers.

What do you know? The best iphone hardware price and monthly plan in the whole world is Hong Kong. UK basically has the best iphone rate in the whole G7. US followed closely after that with their iphone rates.

The countries we kept on hearing complaints on iphones rates are France, Canada and Norway.

Your thinking is penny wise and dollar stupid. Let's see if you like the government allowing AT&T Wireless to swallow up T-Mobile USA and we end up with only 3 carriers in the US. No amount of simlocking laws and DMCA exemptions are going to help consumers at that point.
post #36 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by samab View Post

France/Canada has 3 carriers

There is a good dozen of those here... Well, they want badly to call themselves carriers...

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post #37 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by samab View Post

Plenty of car dealers have been bundling thousand dollar "gas coupons" with a new car purchase --- nothing wrong with that.

Absolutely nothing wrong with that, but you can still buy gas at a different gas station if you want to. The phone equivalent would be Apple selling an iPhone with 1000 free AT&T minutes, which you can only use with an AT&T SIM of course, but not preventing you from using a different SIM from a different carrier if that's what you as a consumer happened to want to do.

Quote:
Your thinking is penny wise and dollar stupid. Let's see if you like the government allowing AT&T Wireless to swallow up T-Mobile USA and we end up with only 3 carriers in the US. No amount of simlocking laws and DMCA exemptions are going to help consumers at that point.

What the hell does any of that have to do with exclusive handset/carrier deals??? You're mixing up two completely different topics.

Michael.
post #38 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by ivan.rnn01 View Post

There is a good dozen of those here... Well, they want badly to call themselves carriers...

Those are MVNO's --- not real carriers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelab View Post

Absolutely nothing wrong with that, but you can still buy gas at a different gas station if you want to. The phone equivalent would be Apple selling an iPhone with 1000 free AT&T minutes, which you can only use with an AT&T SIM of course, but not preventing you from using a different SIM from a different carrier if that's what you as a consumer happened to want to do.

What the hell does any of that have to do with exclusive handset/carrier deals??? You're mixing up two completely different topics.

Michael.

You are able to obtain unlocking codes for the iphone from Orange France (which was the example in the originating comment) --- so in reality, my example is perfectly fine. Your AT&T argument can be explained by the electric car example.

No --- I am not mixing up the two topics at all. The real DISEASE is the lack of competition. A THINLY related SYMPTOM is your precious exclusive handset/carrier deals/simlocking geek argument.

In Hong Kong's example, Hutchison 3G HK is the exclusive iphone carrier in Hong Kong. There is no real simlocking laws in Hong Kong. But Hong Kong co-incidentally is the best iphone deal in the whole world --- even better than countries like Italy and Australia where they have multiple iphone carriers and much better than France where they have all kinds of simlocking laws specifying when and how unlocking codes are given.

So what is so special about Hong Kong --- they treat the disease by giving out 6 wireless carrier licenses. That's it --- a telecom market with 6 carriers will force the exclusive iphone carrier to offer the cheapest fully unlocked iphone hardware price and monthly plan int he world.

You treat the real disease --- then everything will be fine.
post #39 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by samab View Post

Those are MVNO's --- not real carriers.

true... alas...

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People are lovers, basically. -- Engadget livebloggers at the iPad mini event.

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We mean Apple no harm.

People are lovers, basically. -- Engadget livebloggers at the iPad mini event.

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post #40 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by samab View Post

No --- I am not mixing up the two topics at all.

Yes, unfortunately you are mixing up two topics.

Sure, the more carriers there are the more competition there is, but as with other things that require significant physical infrastructure (electricity, water, rail roads, phone landlines) there comes a point where having more competitors starts to get absurd, especially if they don't at least share some of their infrastructure (eg cell towers in the case of mobile carriers).

However, completely independently of how many carriers you have, exclusive carrier handset deals reduce competition. They should be outlawed. If people weren't tied to specific carriers because of exclusive handset deals they'd be able to switch carriers and thus there'd be more incentive for the carriers to keep their customers by other means such as improving services or reducing prices.

Michael.
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