The big iPhone news today is what appears to be certain confirmation of the mobile operator deals for iPhone in Germany, France, and the UK. What remains to be seen is the feasibility and longevity of these exclusivity deals, given the differences in European laws and U.S. ones.
We talked to an employee at Orange in Paris about details of their agreement with Apple to carry the iPhone.
1. He reiterated that Apple is going to get 10% of the revenue from Orange. However, French Law states that after 6 months, you can take your phone to another provider (you can also keep your number – like in the US). The initial provider must allow the phone to be moved and provide whatever access codes necessary to move it. The iPhone will still be sold with a 2 year plan…so that will be interesting to see play out.
Because of this, we speculate Apple may only collect from Orange for 6 months. Apple and Orange may get around this at least in the short-term by offering only 2-year plans, but after 6 months a user could pay an early termination fee and move on. Additionally, the illegal unlocking of iPhones could therefore be a significant revenue risk for Apple, since operators other than Orange would, by law, have the right to have the iPhone on their network. The link below has more information about the French law and its implications.