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

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 121
    Please tell me it's coming to Japan soon!
  • Reply 2 of 121
    Fine, fine, but not satisfied 'till it finally arrives in the Netherlands. GET ON WITH IT!
  • Reply 3 of 121
    tailpipetailpipe Posts: 345member
    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..
  • Reply 4 of 121
    dreyfus2dreyfus2 Posts: 1,072member
    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.
  • Reply 5 of 121
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    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.
  • Reply 6 of 121
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,299member
    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.
  • Reply 7 of 121
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,299member
    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.
  • Reply 8 of 121
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dreyfus2 View Post


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



    edit: pipped by Melgross.
  • Reply 9 of 121
    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.
  • Reply 10 of 121
    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...)
  • Reply 11 of 121
    haggarhaggar Posts: 1,568member
    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?
  • Reply 12 of 121
    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?
  • Reply 13 of 121
    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?"



  • Reply 14 of 121
    dreyfus2dreyfus2 Posts: 1,072member
    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).
  • Reply 15 of 121
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    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?
  • Reply 16 of 121
    dreyfus2dreyfus2 Posts: 1,072member
    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.
  • Reply 17 of 121
    dreyfus2dreyfus2 Posts: 1,072member
    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).
  • Reply 18 of 121
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,299member
    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.
  • Reply 19 of 121
    jfanningjfanning Posts: 3,398member
    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?
  • Reply 20 of 121
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    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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