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Portables (Apple) Businesses Communications Wireless Networking Apple Hardware

Can Apple Find a European iPhone Partner? 323

Posted by kdawson
from the step-away-from-the-deal dept.
pete314 writes "A Vnunet.com article claims that European mobile operators are unwilling to concede to Apple iPhone partnership demands. Several operators went as far as to say they 'will never offer the iPhone.' In the US, Verizon reportedly passed on the device, and AT&T is rumored to have engaged in a revenue-sharing deal that includes monthly payments to Cupertino." In Europe, unlike in the US, Apple has the option of selling the iPhone through its own dealer network without a simlock.
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Can Apple Find a European iPhone Partner?

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  • Answer: yes (Score:5, Interesting)

    by daveschroeder (516195) * on Saturday June 16, 2007 @06:53PM (#19536369)
    ...or, they don't need to.

    And before anyone says that we "don't know" whether the iPhone has a user-accessible SIM tray, yes, we do [iphonealley.com].

    And yes, iPhone will work on any GSM carrier; that's the whole purpose of standards like GSM, and iPhone is a GSM phone. Network-specific functionality (such as visual voicemail) will not work, but the phone and basic voicemail functionality, data functionality, etc., will absolutely work.

    When Apple is ready to launch iPhone in Europe - it has previously said Q4 2007 - I have no doubt they'll be launching it, whether it's with one partner or multiple, or Apple makes some compromises to make a deal happen.

    I also take issue with the article's claim, regurgitated in the summary, that selling iPhone without a simlock is "not an option" in the US. Several phone manufacturers

    And before anyone says that the iPhone is subsidized, therefore it must be a million dollars without a contract, you're wrong. Even though a two year contract with AT&T is required for iPhone in the US, the iPhone is not subsidized - the price is what it is [engadgetmobile.com].

    And mobile operators calling Apple arrogant? How amusing. Also, I have another idea: how about people stop predicting the doom of the iPhone before it's even out yet?
    • by daveschroeder (516195) * on Saturday June 16, 2007 @06:55PM (#19536385)
      "I also take issue with the article's claim, regurgitated in the summary, that selling iPhone without a simlock is "not an option" in the US. Several phone manufacturers..."

      should go on to read:

      Several phone manufacturers offer unlocked GSM phones in the US that will work with any GSM carrier. There's no reason Apple couldn't do this anywhere, including Europe, and the US (after its rumored 5-year exclusive deal with AT&T is over).
    • by puto (533470) *
      Dave,

      You are an admited Apple flag waver, and even have close ties to Apple. And I will admit apple has some great products, and some not so great ones. I am not a fan boy either way.

      But in al honesty, if it is released without 3g at first, do you think it was a wise move, or does it mean it is something they are tooling up to.

      It is cheaper perhaps to make a cheap gsm phone. But cost subsidized or no, 400-500 dollars without 3g is a big pill to swallow.

      I know Jobs is banking on the Apple fan base to move
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by daveschroeder (516195) *
        I know a lot of people think the lack of 3G is killer, but 3G doesn't cover much of the nation yet. Granted, they have coverage in many major metro areas, but I don't think it's broad enough yet. Thus, Apple probably felt like it was acceptable to not do 3G at the beginning. In fact, there may have been multiple reasons: there may be a different data package for iPhone, and AT&T might not mind "testing the waters" a bit. The inclusion of WiFi also obviates the need for 3G coverage for many people. Perso
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          I know a lot of people think the lack of 3G is killer, but 3G doesn't cover much of the nation yet.

          We're talking about the European market, where 3G is practically universal and wifi is relatively rare. It might not hurt Apple in the USA, where things are different, but it's a killer in Europe.

          • Well, I assumed the original poster was asking about the US, and that's what I'm talking about, since that's where I live. In Europe, it might be a big(ger) deal. But it's not even launching in Europe until Q4, which, knowing Apple, means December 31, 2007 - still a half a year out. And there's nothing to say there can't be a newer iPhone featuring 3G pretty soon thereafter. In the meantime, the customers who aren't impacted by the lack of 3G can still purchase it; others certainly don't need to.
        • but 3G doesn't cover much of the nation yet
          Is that REALLY true? Between Alltell/Sprint and Verizon, it seems that a lot--most?--of the country is covered. Sprint/Alltell claim to cover like 200million with RevA, though I have NO idea how accurate that is. I do know that in the past, I've had very good luck with Verizon's evdo in some surprising places.

          So I guess att's 3G may not be very good, but it seems like 3g evdo is not bad..
          • I'm talking about AT&T's 3G coverage, which is the only thing that matters in the US, since that's the only network on which you can use an iPhone in the US.
        • Re:Answer: yes (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Simon Garlick (104721) on Saturday June 16, 2007 @08:26PM (#19536951)
          American mobile-phone technology is five, maybe seven years behind Europe and Asia. Features which are acceptable in the USA (e.g., EDGE, simlocks, contract-locked Wi-fi, etc) are so archaic as to provoke spontaneous laughter when described to non-US mobile users. Just look at the terminology -- fully half* the phone users outside the USA would have no idea what a "cellular" phone is. It's a mobile phone. Mobile across networks, user SIMS, and national borders.

          The simple fact that the parent post asks rhetorically "would it be cool if the first-gen Iphone had 3G?" amazes me. Jesus, is it still 2002 in the USA or something? If Apple takes that attitude to Europe it'll get laughed at. And it is.

          * figure invented on the spot
          • American mobile-phone technology is five, maybe seven years behind Europe and Asia.

            This is due in large part to geographic size, and the nature of the marketplace as mobile telephone services were rolled out in the United States.

            Large metropolitan areas have coverage more or less on par

            Features which are acceptable in the USA (e.g., EDGE,

            It's not tht EDGE is "acceptable"; it's that it's what most of the coverage on AT&T's network actually is. And a large part of it, believe it or not, is economies of pu
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by digitalchinky (650880)
              >>> This is due in large part to geographic size, and the nature of the marketplace as mobile telephone services were rolled out in the United States.

              No, it isn't. Take a look at how the service providers hack away and restrict firmware on any remotely modern handset. Restricting things like wifi, bluetooth, file transfers over cable, hell, probably even infra-red, this has absolutely nothing to do with services that were rolled out in the past. It has everything to do with making more money from
          • fully half* the phone users outside the USA would have no idea what a "cellular" phone is. It's a mobile phone.
            And 100% of people in Austria have no idea what a "mobile phone" is. They call it a "Handy."

            What's your point?
            • by joto (134244)

              fully half* the phone users outside the USA would have no idea what a "cellular" phone is. It's a mobile phone.

              And 100% of people in Austria have no idea what a "mobile phone" is. They call it a "Handy."

              Yeah, and most people I know, just call it a "phone". There are cases where a landline phone is acceptable, but mostly, it is viewed as an archaic technology that can only be used for two-way voice communication, and only when you are near it. In other words, about as hip as telex, CB-radios, or snail-m

      • by MrCrassic (994046)

        I agree very much with this statement. Maybe 3G is not so popular in the United States (we are diverting much of our bandwidth focus to the home computer, not mobile devices), 3G is becoming the de facto standard in Europe and Asia. It has been shown statistically that a lot of Internet activity coming from Europe alone was from mobile devices, and most, if not all, of the European mobile carriers have upgraded to 3G for this specific purpose.

        I highly think that releasing any phone without this capability

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Angostura (703910)
          Really, I thought that 3G was basically a flop in the UK so far, and that after 3 initially tried to tout the benefits of fast data: 'woo football highlights and movie trailers on your phone' they basically had to give up and resort to 'woo really cheap phone calls'.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dwater (72834)
      > And before anyone says that the iPhone is subsidized,
      > therefore it must be a million dollars without a contract, you're wrong.
      > Even though a two year contract with AT&T is required for iPhone in the US,
      > the iPhone is not subsidized - the price is what it is.

      My reading of the page is that the phone will not be subsidised *further* for their *employees* - ie there will not be any discount if you work for them and they have to pay the same as anyone else.

      I do *not* read that as implying th
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by daveschroeder (516195) *
        No. Yes, this is an "employee Q&A", but this does not mean that the phone just isn't "further" subsidized for "employees" - I don't even know how you get that. It means the iPhone is not subsidized, period. The only thing the words subsidy and subsidized even refer to in the wireless industry is price reductions in exchange for contracts, not for employee discounts. The entire Q&A is for employees dealing with customers, customer questions, and AT&T's direction for iPhone, not for employee purch
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by mr_matticus (928346)
        Yeah, you missed something. This is a training/reference document, not an internal sales bulletin. As you can see by reading the document (or hell, even the excerpts), these are the answers to questions that customers would be asking, providing an official answer for sales representatives to use. iPhone hardware is not subsidized by AT&T because Apple wouldn't let them. Whether that is Apple arrogance or a brilliant attempt to expose cell phone pricing scams remains to be seen.

        My fear is that the pl
    • by tzanger (1575)

      nd yes, iPhone will work on any GSM carrier; that's the whole purpose of standards like GSM, and iPhone is a GSM phone.

      While I wish this were true, if GSM standards demanded that phones worked on any GSM network, why are things like simlocking coming out which create phones which are locked to a specific carrier, just like CDMA?

      I believe that GSM network owners hate that their phones will work anywhere, and that is why they're pushing for the capability to lock phones to their networks like what can b

      • While I wish this were true

        This is true; I'm speaking of what is possible for an unlocked iPhone from a technical perspective. It can and will work on any GSM network.

        if GSM standards demanded that phones worked on any GSM network, why are things like simlocking coming out which create phones which are locked to a specific carrier, just like CDMA?

        I'm saying that a GSM phone in general can work on any GSM network, not that a locked phone will. And simlocking isn't "coming out"; it's been standard practice fo
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by jsse (254124)

      And yes, iPhone will work on any GSM carrier; that's the whole purpose of standards like GSM, and iPhone is a GSM phone. Network-specific functionality (such as visual voicemail) will not work, but the phone and basic voicemail functionality, data functionality, etc., will absolutely work.

      I believe you know much about the technical aspect of GSM, and yes GSM is a standard. However, that doesn't mean a GSM-compliant phone can connect to any mobile carriers without prior agreements.

      For example, you cannot make a GSM-compliant phone and then plug your GSM SIM into it and talk. You simply couldn't connect to the carrier, they'd just reject to connect to your unrecognized mobile phone, unless you as a "mobile manufacturer" striked a deal with them in advance.

      The mobile carriers must recogn

      • Re:Answer: yes (Score:4, Informative)

        by Emor dNilapasi (455542) on Saturday June 16, 2007 @09:52PM (#19537539)

        For example, you cannot make a GSM-compliant phone and then plug your GSM SIM into it and talk. You simply couldn't connect to the carrier, they'd just reject to connect to your unrecognized mobile phone, unless you as a "mobile manufacturer" striked a deal with them in advance.

        Sorry, that's just not so. I bought an unlocked Treo 650, stuck in my T-Mobile SIM (and T-Mobile does NOT offer the 650) and it Just Worked (tm) - like GSM is supposed to do.

        • by MsGeek (162936)
          For the past 5 years, I have been using an Ericsson r520m phone on T-Mobile. The r520m never even came out in the US, it was an Euro-only model. Yet it worked happily on the T-Mobile/Cingular (yes, they share infrastructure in California) network.

          I moved to a Motorola v330 because I wanted to sync my phone information with my MacBook. I could never get the bluetooth on the MacBook to see the r520m's rudimentary implementation of bluetooth. (It was the proof-of-concept phone, dontcha know!) The v330 is cheap
        • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

          by jsse (254124)
          [quote]Sorry, that's just not so. I bought an unlocked Treo 650, stuck in my T-Mobile SIM (and T-Mobile does NOT offer the 650) and it Just Worked (tm) - like GSM is supposed to do.[/quote]
          So...you made that Treo 650 yourself?

          Or, Palm has already made deals with major mobile carriers prior to manufacture Treo 650?

          You mixed up customer-level locking and mobile-level locking. The latter is done by manufacturers to register a unique identifier of a particular model of mobile phone with major mobile carri
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by BasilBrush (643681)
            Complete bluff from start to finish. These is no such phone model type blocking on GSM. If a particular phone hasn't worked for you with a valid SIM, it's because that particular phone is locked to another network. NOT that the phone type is rejected as being unknown.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by kevinbr (689680)
        I work in Europe these last 7 years in the Mobile Portal Space, and I have never seen anyone try to lock out a phone at the network level. Once it has a valid SIM.....it works. We have NO idea what phones are out there, and if mobile operators were doing this, they would lock out their own customers, because marketing never talks to the network guys, they just do stuff. In any case all operators sell SIM only contract.......so contractually how would we explain to them that we are locking THEIR phone out. G
  • Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thammoud (193905) on Saturday June 16, 2007 @06:53PM (#19536373)

    In Europe, unlike in the US, Apple has the option of selling the iPhone through its own dealer network without a simlock.


    In the US, AT&T (Cingular) and T-Mobile are both GSM providers. Apple could have easily sold an unlocked phone to be used by those providers.
    • In the US, AT&T (Cingular) and T-Mobile are both GSM providers. Apple could have easily sold an unlocked phone to be used by those providers.

      I think they're just referring to the fact that this typically isn't done in the US, but they shouldn't imply this isn't possible, as manufacturers (such as Palm) already do sell unlocked GSM phones in the US.
    • by MikeFM (12491)
      I'll not buy an iPhone until I can use it with a carrier other than AT&T. They are the most expensive major carrier and in all honesty they suck ass (I worked there for a while - they really are pretty much retarded). I'll probably want to wait for about the third version of the iPhone anyway as the current model is sure to come up short as any first generation product is prone to do.
      • I'll not buy an iPhone until I can use it with a carrier other than AT&T.
        Good for you for taking a stand. I'm sure Steve Jobs will be crying all the way to the bank.
        • by MikeFM (12491)
          I know - to many people will bend over and take it just to be the first on their block to have the newest toy. Says something about our society huh?
    • by Mr2001 (90979) on Saturday June 16, 2007 @07:12PM (#19536507) Homepage Journal
      Here's the relevant quote from TFA:

      If Apple decided to sell the iPhone directly to consumers, it would have to sell the devices without simlock, allowing the buyer to insert their own Sim card.

      This is not an option for the US market because several providers do not use Sim cards, and because operators use different network standards that prevent the iPhone working on some networks.
      Hard to tell whether the author was confused or just wrong. All the GSM providers in the US use SIM cards, because that's how GSM works. Different operators do use different network standards (mainly CDMA), but GSM is GSM no matter who's providing it. There's nothing stopping Apple from selling the iPhone directly to consumers and saying "You need a SIM card to make this work, so go get one from Cingular, T-Mobile, or somewhere else."
      • by Kadin2048 (468275) *
        Yeah, I agree, that was an absolutely retarded statement (at least, to make without some sort of explanation or qualification) in TFA.

        Apple could have made their product much more attractive to early-adopter buyers, and possibly even changed how cellphones are sold in the U.S., by selling it directly to consumers, unlocked. I know of a lot of people who are mildly intrigued by the iPhone -- enough that they'd at least consider it for their next phone, maybe even buy one if they had the option of returning i
    • by rakslice (90330)
      Heh... slashdot has an editor without a clue? oh noes!

      The only reason that a GSM-based phone model would be unavailable without a simlock is that the manufacturer (Apple in this case) refuses to distribute it except through service providers.
      • by PPH (736903)

        The only reason that a GSM-based phone model would be unavailable without a simlock is that the manufacturer (Apple in this case) refuses to distribute it except through service providers.

        It would be more accurate to say "If Apple is pressured by the network providers to keep unlocked phones off the market".

        As others have said, an unlocked GSM phone is an unlocked GSM phone. One little caveat here about European GSM, they use different frequency bands than the USA does. You have to have a 'Quad Band' GSM ph

  • by garoo (203070) on Saturday June 16, 2007 @07:12PM (#19536501)
    It would make sense for Apple to be cautious about their sales/after-sales care approach in the UK at least.

    I say this as someone who bought a couple of upper-crust Nokias (price comparable to estimates of the iPhone's cost) a couple of years ago and had no end of problems. It isn't that the hardware sucked, though there were several design flaws, but it's not like Apple are immune from those. It wasn't even that the software sucked. It was the sheer level of bureaucratic incompetence related to every after-sales interaction. Guarantees that mysteriously lapse on the UK guarantee lookup system. Phones replaced by grey market alternatives shipped in from Saudi Arabia that mysteriously don't qualify under the warranty at all. It is almost entirely impossible to communicate with Nokia themselves. The 'Nokia Shop' system - the Nokia-branded vendor through which these things are bought - are actually Mobile Phones Direct and have no relationship with Nokia at all. And of course the operator from whom one bought the contract holds no apparent responsibility. All this is advantageous to them - call them and tell them your £450 phone has broken and they'll point out that it's just about time for you to renew your contract and, hey, you're eligible for a phone upgrade. It is not in their interest to support the one you've just spent eighteen months paying for.

    If I were trying to sell an upmarket mobile phone, especially one as expensive as the iPhone is likely to be, I'd be desperately looking for a way to handle all this which wouldn't equate Apple with the open invitation to open a case with Trading Standards that is the UK mobile industry. For whatever reason, Apple currently have a fairly good name when it comes to expensive-but-neat gadgets. Nothing loses the customer's trust like trying to figure out who in the system of phone operators, retail outlets and repair centres is responsible for fixing a broken mobile.

    If it's not obvious from the above I'm actually rather hoping that Apple do take some responsibility for this product; if they do I might be inclined to buy one just to give myself and Trading Standards a break. You know you've got a problem when you discover you've been put on Trading Standards' Christmas card list.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jimicus (737525)
      I think that's as much a function of Nokia's engineering approach ("put the fancy new experimental features in the expensive phones few people buy, then iron them out for the cheaper phones which sell by the million") than anything else, and is not really how Apple tend to work.

      The experience you discuss in sorting it out is just typical of UK customer service within the mobile phone industry. Just like their fixed-line counterparts, mobile phone networks are run by a bunch of arrogant tossers whose attitu
  • by Deliveranc3 (629997) <deliverance AT level4 DOT org> on Saturday June 16, 2007 @07:45PM (#19536689) Journal
    If people knew what their phones were capable of, what the cell companies are denying them, it'd be blood in the water.
  • by cgenman (325138) on Saturday June 16, 2007 @07:46PM (#19536701) Homepage
    The US phone industry is incredibly warped with respect to the rest of the world, doing things that nobody else would put up with.

    Why we put up with it is a mystery to me.

    • by RzUpAnmsCwrds (262647) on Sunday June 17, 2007 @01:06AM (#19538473)

      The US phone industry is incredibly warped with respect to the rest of the world, doing things that nobody else would put up with.

      Why we put up with it is a mystery to me.


      Oh, really?

      T-Mobile UK charges £20 (~$40) /mo for a £34 "allowance", good for up to 170 minutes (20p/min) or 340 text messages (10p each). You can make free calls on the weekend. There's an 18 month contract.

      T-Mobile US charges the same $40 for 1000 minutes. You can make free calls at night and on the weekend. There's a 24-month contract when you buy a phone.

      So, we're paying the same amount, but we're getting more than 5x as many minutes. Yes, we pay for incoming calls, but unless you recieve more than 4x as many calls as you make, you still come out ahead.

      We pay less for text messages, less for GPRS, and we don't pay to call customer care. We also don't pay to roam anywhere in the US, which is 4x larger than Western Europe and just as populous.

      We're getting screwed. But Europeans are getting screwed way, way more. The funny thing is that they don't seem to realize it - and they somehow believe that we're getting the short end of the stick.

      My family is on a "family" plan. We pay $60/mo for three phones (about $25/mo per line), and although we only get 500 peak minutes, we make more than 6000 minutes of calls in a typical month. How? We don't pay to call each other (or anyone on the same provider, for that matter), and we don't pay to call at night or on the weekends.

      You know what's even crazier? It's cheaper for me to make or recieive a call from France (99c/min) than it is for someone who has T-Mobile UK (55p/min).

      Warped? Not exactly.
      • Huh? (Score:4, Informative)

        by kt0157 (830611) on Sunday June 17, 2007 @04:43AM (#19539413)
        I use T-mobile in the UK. I pay nothing per month. I have no contract. I pay $0.20/min for the calls I make, $0.10 for the texts I send, nothing for the calls I receive. When I use the net the amount I pay is capped at $2 for the day. I have 3G coverage at home (semi-rural). I do not pay for MP3 ringtones because I download them into the phone from my Macbook. The Bluetooth on my phone has not been disabled by the operator.

        Am I being screwed then?
      • Here in Switzerland (where the prices are generally very high), Orange [orange.ch]
        In Germany, with T-Mobile, the plans [t-mobile.de] don't charge for incoming calls and are quite competitive.

        You did know that different Europeam countries have different tarifs, didn't you? and you did know that no one here charegs you for incoming calls?

        Or was this just another yay USA pissing match?

        (T-Mobile is a German company, btw)
  • by Duncan3 (10537) on Saturday June 16, 2007 @07:48PM (#19536725) Homepage
    iPhone: $3,000 in 24 easy installments, after a 600$ down payment.

    F' you AT&T!
    • by SeaFox (739806)
      Nono, you need to do it like this.

      Cable Modem: $45/mo.
      VoIP service: $25/mo.
      iPhone: $3,000 in 24 installments and $600 down.
      Cellular service with GSM carrier: $40/mo.

      Saying f*** you to AT&T: priceless.

      There are some things a free market can't buy. For everything else, there's MasterCard.
    • Cell phone company is going to get $600-1000 out of you per year regardless of what phone you own. You might as well own a good one. I'd much rather see them stop subsidizing phones altogether if I get unlimited voice for $20 a month and unlimited voice+data at $35. That, unfortunately, won't happen. Evar.
      • by SeaFox (739806)

        Cell phone company is going to get $600-1000 out of you per year regardless of what phone you own. You might as well own a good one

        Looking at the growth of cell phone users of the last few years, two years is a long time in cell phone history terms. A network infrastructure that is adequate at one time may be undersized for a subscriber base a year or so later. Where will you be when your carrier can't handle all its customers and you're stuck in a contract?
        • by aaarrrgggh (9205)

          Where will you be when your carrier can't handle all its customers and you're stuck in a contract?

          With customer service, stating such and being given either a significant credit on service or an "out" on the contract.

          Both parties have to live up to their obligations in a contract. If they aren't, take them to small claims court (or something).
  • by gilesjuk (604902) <giles,jones&zen,co,uk> on Saturday June 16, 2007 @07:54PM (#19536765)
    In the UK the network operators like to bastardise the phone as they see fit. Rebranding, removing features and often ruining the phone. With Windows smartphones they often remove MSN messenger and any VOIP software.
    • Rogers and Fido (owned by Rogers) are the only GSM carriers of Canada. The same GSM bastardized phones that are locked that may not enable you to customize your ringtones without buying them are sold unlocked directly from the warehouses from Taiwan at a way cheaper price, the RAZR being the best example because it's everywhere you look at.

      What I hope is that someone will find a way of unlocking the iPhone. It sucks when you think that you're slowly paying for the iPhone with your 1-2-3 years contract and t
  • by Aphrika (756248) on Saturday June 16, 2007 @07:58PM (#19536801)
    Does Apple really need a partner in Europe? Sure, it'd be nice to have one, but the iPhone would happily sit at the high-end of the smartphone range with the N95 in pricing if supplied SIM-free. Ok, so you wouldn't get provider stuff such as visual voicemail, but you'd get 99% of the functionality. However, I don't think it would look too appealing - you can get a lot more phone for your money at N95 prices...

    And I know I'll get shot down for this, but I'm still not getting the whole iPhone vibe thing at all. It's a phone with a touchscreen. It doesn't have 3G, it has a pretty average camera and overall, it's a pretty bog-standard smartphone. Symbian and Windows Mobile devices have been out for ages, are well established with thousands of software titles, work well with corporate systems and are generally more feature-complete. In that sense, a lot of European carriers are probably wondering what the hell all the fuss is about.

    Granted the iPhone has the whole iPod/iTunes thing going for it which I kinda like, but I'd wait until that touchscreen finds its way into a standalone iPod. While I'd like the iPhone to succeed, feature for feature, version 1 has already been surpassed here by the likes of the Nokia N95 and the Sony Ericsson W960i. :o(
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by skrolle2 (844387)

      Ok, so you wouldn't get provider stuff such as visual voicemail,
      You can drop the "such as", the iPhone has no other feature that requires a special deal with the provider. Everything else it can do is standard GSM.
  • ...Jobs expects to get out of the deal other than a middling, short-term income stream*. Because I think we all know that this is just the opening salvo of his grand plan to take a sizeable chunk of the handset market with an entire iPhone series, and with that in mind, I think that once the novelty of an Apple cellphone wears off (say after the iPhone 2 and/or the 'iphone nano'), the service provider/s will come banging on his door, possibly with an axe to grind, threatening that unless the 'revenue-sharin
    • My theory is that you're wrong. Apple have a proven track record in making consumer goods. Bank on the iPhone being a massive hit.

      Simon.
  • closed system (Score:3, Informative)

    by fermion (181285) on Saturday June 16, 2007 @08:12PM (#19536879) Homepage Journal
    There was a time, not so long ago, that one could only hook up a certified ATT phone to you ATT landline. While this was clearly partially due to a issues related to the network, after a while it had more to do with monthly rental fees paid on these phones. After a while the government said enough was enough, and we now have the opportunity to plug any phone we want into the jacks. This, along with other factors, killed the profitability of the industry.

    The cell phone companies of course see the same thing happening with the iPhone. Apple does not always play be industry "wink wink nudge nudge'rules. It has had a big part in validating digital music delivery, and, for better or worse, we will see those deliveries be uninfected with DRM. What will the iphone do to the mobile phone industry. Render meaningless the contracts by which a phone user must use a certain service for email. Allow users to create thier own ring tones, as can already be done using a Mac and some cell phones. Nip in the bud the profitable music downloads over celluar networks before it even generates any significant revenue. Force major upgrades in bandwidth. Are the Europeans afraid that the iPhone will somehow undermine their excessive roaming charges? The United States, at twice the area, has inexpensive roam free plans, despite the relative backwater mobile technology.

    Apple is pretty good about delivering disruptive technology. I am sure the only reason that ATT made the deal was to remain competitive with Verizon. I can't imagine it was a happy decision for them. I wonder if there is enough competition in the EU to force a carrier to do the same.

    • by Rakishi (759894)
      You seem to be confusing which country is the restrictive one and what Apple is actually doing. The iPhone can be used on ONE network with a long term plan.

      In Europe you can buy almost any phone you want, stick a sim card in it and be on your way.
  • Enough already (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 16, 2007 @08:15PM (#19536895)
    Every fuckin' day there are at least two "news stories" about the iPhone here. I guess on June 29th Slashdot will become iPhone.org. Hasn't Sourceforge tired of the the taste of Jobs' nuts yet?
  • by ktappe (747125) on Saturday June 16, 2007 @08:17PM (#19536905)
    All Apple has to do is wait until June 30th. When word that iPhones can't be restocked fast enough to meet demand, European carriers will be contacting Steve Jobs' office willing to deal.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by cuby (832037)
      Mobile carriers don't need Apple to do business. I live in a country with 112 mobile phones per 100 people and almost anyone has a phone costing more than 300 euros. Also, phone unlocking is even more pervasive than file sharing. Apple is lucky if they manage to get even a 5% share... That's nothing.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by suv4x4 (956391)
      All Apple has to do is wait until June 30th. When word that iPhones can't be restocked fast enough to meet demand, European carriers will be contacting Steve Jobs' office willing to deal.

      Carriers aren't in the business to resell phones. Phones are just the means they use to sel their service.

      European carries want you to buy their 3G connection and video capabilities.

      Every sold iPhone means one more customer who won't buy their 3G service. And incidentally, because of the price of this device, it's exactly t
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by drsquare (530038)
      Why would they want to do a deal with a manufacturer that can't keep up demand? The European mobile phone market is pretty saturated, carriers won't make money on phones that don't exist.
  • by SeaFox (739806) on Saturday June 16, 2007 @08:31PM (#19536987)

    In Europe, unlike in the US, Apple has the option of selling the iPhone through its own dealer network without a simlock.

    Wouldn't this make AT&T's "exclusive" distribution agreement written on toilet paper? Everyone who didn't want get a long contract or use AT&T would just get the iPhone imported from Europe.

    A more interesting question would be what Apple is going to do in those countries where it is illegal to lock a phone to a network or require a contract for it.

    If there's going to be any "revolution" in the cell phone industry caused by the iPhone, it's how business is done U.S. cellular industry when the rest of the world is entirely different. I can't believe we still have to pay for incoming calls in the U.S.
  • iMslow (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kosmosik (654958) <kos@NosPAM.kosmosik.net> on Saturday June 16, 2007 @08:37PM (#19537023) Homepage
    Rumors say that iPhone does ~25KBps on data connection. This really sucks. 3.5G network is really spread in Europe so with iPhone's pathetic ~25KBps (I easly 200KBps with my phone and laptop right now) bandwith is not really attractive for retailers in Europe. Well this is hardly a "Breakthrough Internet Device" isn't it?

    Maybe next version could manage do something sane.

    I mean for networks in Europe the main selling point right now is data transfer. It is like revolution - real mobile Internet. Well iPhone does not catch that. People everywhere here use phones (via their laptops) to access Internet. You have like plenty of billboards, press adverts, TV commercials focusing on GSM data transfer abilities.

    Well lets see what iPhone can do... uhm... it can do phone calls and text messaging - hmm. Like any other phone really. It is not a selling point. Right now in Poland (at belive me - it is not the most advanced country in Europe) the selling point is 4Mbps data transfer.

    So concluding - there is not a market (beside of really small fashion accessory one) for iPhone unless it can work as all other phones on the market (do HDSPA and modern data transfer).

    • Re:iMslow (Score:5, Insightful)

      by SwedishPenguin (1035756) on Saturday June 16, 2007 @10:30PM (#19537725)
      Yeah I read about that, the iPhone doesn't have UMTS/HSPA support, only GSM/GPRS. How could they overlook such an important feature? Is UMTS coverage that low in the US? I don't think they'll have much success in Europe until they get out of the stone age and offer support for modern 3G networks.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by RzUpAnmsCwrds (262647)

      Rumors say that iPhone does ~25KBps on data connection. This really sucks. 3.5G network is really spread in Europe so with iPhone's pathetic ~25KBps (I easly 200KBps with my phone and laptop right now) bandwith is not really attractive for retailers in Europe. Well this is hardly a "Breakthrough Internet Device" isn't it?

      It's worse than you think.

      The iPhone is a GPRS/EDGE device. EDGE can do 20KB/s in the best case, and 15KB/s is more typical.

      Guess what, though? There's no EDGE in most of Europe. UMTS got p

  • by MDMurphy (208495) on Saturday June 16, 2007 @09:08PM (#19537255)
    It's a case of the pot calling the kettle black. The cell carriers have been squeezing the phone manufacturers for years, discounting the hardware to get customers locked in for 1-2 years. This has had the effect of people thinking of phones as "free" or "cheap"

    Last phone I got was through Amazon. Why? Because it was almost $100 less than the same phone right from the carrier with the same plan. After rebates it cost me negative money ( not counting service ). How does Amazon do this? They get a cut for each customer they get to sign up or extend service. So the carriers are making the hardware look cheap and slipping money to the retailer.

    This is part of the reason people said Apple was nuts to make a cell phone, the manufacturers have been getting squeezed for years. Apple instead said no, no discounts and they want the kickback for new contracts. The carriers have been making tons of money in the long run and Apple wants a piece of the action.

    In reality, they don't need a partner. Europe has even more MVNOs than the U.S. They could buy minutes in bulk and sell the phones themselves. They may not want to, but they could.

    A partner also isn't necessary for visual voicemail. All of these phones have internet access. I already use a 3rd party for my cell phone voicemail since it provides more features ( YouMail.com ) I have the option to get an SMS when I have voicemail that tells me who the message was from, and have it delivered via email as well as the indicator on my phone. It would not be hard for Apple to do the voicemail part themselves, independent of the carrier.

    So the whole article is BS. By choosing GSM Apple has a phone than can be used in more countries than any other, and enabled with a new carrier just by slipping in a new SIM. By going with GSM they're out of the Broadcom/Qualcomm fight as well.
  • In Europe, unlike in the US, Apple has the option of selling the iPhone through its own dealer network without a simlock.

    They could do that here, sell a generic GSM phone. T-Mobile customers atleast would be able to use it.
  • "Verizon reportedly passed on the device..."

    Of course they did, because they know that anyone will be able to dump their contracts with AT&T and Verizon will be there to offer ex AT&T iPhone customers with a competitive deal without having to make any concessions to Apple.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by pweent (411565)
      they know that anyone will be able to dump their contracts with AT&T and Verizon will be there to offer ex AT&T iPhone customers with a competitive deal without having to make any concessions to Apple.

      iPhone is GSM. Verizon is CDMA. I don't think Verizon is going to see much in the way of iPhone business anytime soon.

      As far as Apple arrogance goes, I can actually almost picture Apple telling Verizon, "We'd love for you to be our exclusive iPhone partner in the U.S.! There are a few conditions

  • Prediction (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Frankie70 (803801) on Saturday June 16, 2007 @10:14PM (#19537633)
    If the iPhone gets launched at a 500$+ price point
    in Europe, it would be a huge flop. This phone can
    be a hit in Europe only if Apple reduces the price
    by 25% atleast & sells it unlocked. The US is the
    only place where such an expensive locked phone
    can possibly sell huge numbers. But this time I
    think even in the US, iPhone is not going to be
    a huge hit - at best it would be a moderate success
    at current price levels.
  • by plusser (685253) on Sunday June 17, 2007 @03:27AM (#19539091)
    A few truths:-

    1. If you go to Tokoyo, you will find most people walking round with a 3G/4G phone in one hand and an ipod in the other. The iPod has massive market penetration in Japan; the iPhone will when lanuched in Japan will have a large potential market. However, the previous generation of mobile phones (i.e. those before 3G) are totally incompatible with GSM. This is the main reason while the Asian market will have to wait until the battery technology improves.

    2. 3G phones are still massive in size and have poor battery consumption when compared with GSM, hence the 3G version of the Mototrola V3 RAZR is almost twice the thickness of the GSM version. Europeans have a tendancy to go for smaller, more stylish phones, hence market penetration of 3G phones is fairly low. There are older members of the European population that like bigger phones, but they also don't like lots of technical functions; they are not in the market for an iPhone.

    3. Most of the rest of the World have GSM, but 3G support is not consistent.

    4. There are many phone users in European countries that now use pay as you go phone packages. This is because of the stupid attitude of mobile phone operators with regard to roaming charges for different countries; something the EU has recently tried to resolve. As the people whom are likely to buy an iPhone in Europe are likely to be those that travel a lot, having an unlocked phone will probably be a competitive advantage.

    5. If I select an ISP, for my broadband connection, why should I be restricted to which model of computer I should use? Surely it is much better to buy a phone and then buy a contract for data/phone calls separately?
  • by fluor2 (242824) on Sunday June 17, 2007 @04:38AM (#19539393)
    From a European point of view, I cannot see the fuzz about Apple's iPhone. It's just a standard phone, but with a touch-screen. Nothing more. All other European models (Sony Ericsson, Nokia etc) have plans for feature-rich phones like iPhone. I do understand that this is a big deal in the US, where crippled cell phones have mostly been sold (just standard phones with SMS and some WAP-services). Let's face it. The US is _way behind_ when it comes to mobile phones.

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