T-Mobile Germany opens up the iPhone

T-Mobile Germany opens up the iPhone

More of a nuisance than a genuine disruptor, says analyst

T-Mobile in Germany is to begin selling unlocked versions of Apple's iPhone following a court injunction granted to rival operator Vodafone earlier this week.

T-Mobile announced that it will sell the unlocked devices for €999 (£715).

Customers in Germany who have already purchased an iPhone can have the Sim unlocked for free and use the network of their choice, although they will still be bound to the contract signed with T-Mobile.

Although many have balked at the €999 price tag, it is still cheaper than the total amount a customer will pay over the course of the T-Mobile contract, but will not include any mobile services.

The move has been hailed as a major win for consumers, but some analysts are sceptical about how much impact it will have.

"What is interesting is that it shows the extent to which Vodafone is worried about the competitive advantage the iPhone confers on its close rival and its potential to attract new customers to the network," said Ovum analyst Jonathan Arber.

"After all, we see little benefit to Vodafone from this victory other than spoiling T-Mobile's exclusive in a crucial sales period."

Arber applauded the fact that German consumers are now being offered more choice, but believes that the high price tag for the unlocked device is likely to put off all but the early adopters who may already have bought an iPhone anyway.

"Ultimately, this is likely to prove more of an annoyance to T-Mobile and Apple than a genuine disruptor," he said.