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Unlocked French iPhones on sale for $1,106

France beats Germany in the iPhone price war

November 28, 2007 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - France Telecom set the price for an unlocked iPhone Wednesday at €749-- squarely in the middle of the range its CEO spelled out on Tuesday -- as it started selling the iconic Apple Inc. smart phone throughout France.

The company's Orange mobile subsidiary, Apple's exclusive provider partner in France, is selling iPhones able to connect to other carriers for €749 ($1,106) when customers decline to sign a 12- or 24-month service contract.

On Tuesday, France Telecom CEO Didier Lombard had promised Orange would sell unlocked iPhones at "significantly lower" prices than the €999 (about $1,475) that rival T-Mobile charges its customers in Germany. The official price tag is right in the middle of the €500 to €1000 range Lombard quoted yesterday.

Orange priced the iPhone at €399 ($589) when purchased with a service plan, dubbed tariffs in Europe. Orange offers plans ranging in price from €49 to €119 per month ($72-$176), which include between 120 and 480 minutes. For an additional €100 ($148), Orange will unlock any locked iPhone, including those previously purchased with a 12- or 24-month contract.

Current Orange customers can purchase an iPhone without extending their existing contract, but the price jumps to €549 ($811), said the company.

Only Orange in France and T-Mobile GmbH in Germany are currently selling iPhones unlocked out of the box. T-Mobile, owned by Deutsche Telekom AG, began offering unlocked iPhones for €999 (about $1,471) after a German court ruled in favor of rival Vodafone Group PLC, which had filed a lawsuit in Hamburg demanding that T-Mobile open the iPhone to other carriers.

IPhone buyers in the U.S. and the U.K. have resorted to applying free or for-a-fee hacks to open their phones. According to comments made in late October by Apple executives, approximately 250,000 of the 1.4 million iPhones sold in the U.S. had not been registered with AT&T Inc., and had presumably been unlocked instead by their owners.

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