Vodafone blocks German T-Mobile iPhone plans

Vodafone blocks German T-Mobile iPhone plans

Operator questions sales practices

The German arm of mobile operator Vodafone has managed temporarily to block rival T-Mobile from selling Apple's iPhone in Germany.

Vodafone obtained a restraining order against T-Mobile from a regional court in Hamburg on Monday over sales practices surrounding T-Mobile's exclusive deal with Apple to sell the iPhone in Germany.

A Vodafone spokesman said that the operator is not upset at being unable to sell the iPhone, but is concerned about T-Mobile's limiting the phone to certain price plans rather than its full portfolio of subscriptions choices.

The restraining order does not aim at stopping sales completely, but Vodafone believes that "T-Mobile has breached a local law in Germany" and that limitations are bad for customers.

German mobile operator Debitel has also lodged a complaint with Germany's telecoms regulator about the deal.

"It is not permissible to link the use of the iPhone exclusively to T-Mobile's network," said a Debitel spokeswoman.

T-Mobile refused to comment on the action taken by Vodafone, but did confirm that it had received the injunction. The company said that the "legal basis for the injunction is currently being examined".