T-Mobile Can Sell iPhone With Contract: German Court

Deutsche Telekom scored a victory in a legal battle with rival Vodafone over sales conditions for the coveted Apple iPhone, which T-Mobile sells exclusively in Germany.

A German court ruled on Tuesday Deutsche Telekom’s mobile unit can make customers who buy the music-playing and Web-browsing device take out a T-Mobile contract as well and may continue to offer the device with a locked SIM card.

A locked card prevents the device from being used on rival networks.

Deutsche Telekom shares were up 1.2 percent at 15.27 euros by 9:04 a.m. EST, outperforming a 0.3 percent dip in the DJ Stoxx telecoms index.

It secured an exclusive deal with Apple to sell the iPhone in Germany, where Apple has no stores. Customers had to sign up to a 24-month T-Mobile contract costing a minimum of 1,176 euros ($1,734) in order to buy the 399 euro phone.

Vodafone had won a temporary court injunction preventing T-Mobile from locking the iPhone’s SIM card and offering it only in combination with a T-Mobile contract.

T-Mobile said it planned to return to its original sales conditions for the iPhone as soon as possible.

Vodafone has also lost out to Telefonica’s O2 in Britain and France Telecom’s Orange in France.

In Britain, the iPhone costs 269 pounds ($555) on top of an 18-month contract costing a minimum of 35 pounds per month.

In the United States, Apple sold 1.1 million iPhones in the quarter ending in September for up to $3,000 each, which includes a compulsory two-year service contract with AT&T.

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