(Legitimate) unlocked iPhones not selling much in Europe

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Orange is selling “very, very few” unlocked iPhones (cost: 749 Euros, or £560) without a contract, according to Didier Lombard, the head of Orange’s parent company France Telecom. By regulation Apple had to offer both locked and unlocked versions – with the latter being more expensive. Apple will be pleased, since it gets a monthly income from iPhone buyers who also subscribe to Orange. In the US Apple is estimated to get around $18 per subscriber, per month from partner AT&T. However, Orange’s normal iPhone sales were going “very well,” added Lombard, despite offering no sales figures.

An iPhone tied to the Orange network in France costs €399 (£298). In the UK you can only buy iPhones locked to the O2 network, costing £269. In Germany the sales of unlocked iPhones is likely to be equally as small as France given that by law they have to be sold as unlocked to begin with, meaning they cost an eye-watering 999 Euros (£747).

On Wednesday this week – a day after Apple’s Steve Jobs said they had sold four million iPhones globally so far – EU Consumer Commissioner Meglena Kuneva said Apple’s exclusive contracts with mobile carriers could be considered unfair and therefore not binding on consumers. Meanwhile in the UK unlocked iPhones are appearing on ebay for between £400-£500.

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