Earlier in the year, Orange’s iPhone exclusivity in France was forced to an end by a court decision from the Competition Council following a complaint filed by Bouygues Telecom. This decision and its re-affirmation by the higher courts has opened the floodgates for the iPhone to conquer France with the handset making its appearance on Bouygues Telecom and SFR in addition to Orange. Competition leads to increased sales, increased sales leads to price wars and significant price slashing has hit the iPhone in France. Orange has cut its price on the 16GB iPhone 3GS to a lowly €59 ($48USD) from its original sticker of €149 ($213USD), the iPhone 3G 8GB has fallen to a mere €19 ($27USD), while the iPhone 3GS 32GB retails for€169 ($242USD). Strings are attached as customers must sign up for an Origami Star contract, starting a €40.90 ($48USD) per month. Priced slightly higher is SFR which offers the iPhone 3G 8GB for €29 ($42USD), the iPhone 3GS 16GB for €99 ($ 141USD) and the 3GS 32GB for €199 ($284USD). Not wanting to feel left behind, expect other telecoms in France and perhaps even the surrounding markets to follow suit.
While many of our readers think the BlackBerry Curve 8520 is about as boring as it gets, truth be told it’s infinitely more functional than most devices in its (Walmart or Amazon) price range and it invites a whole new demo over to Berry. One of our RIM ninjas hit us up this morning to let us know that within the next month it should be available for purchase in France from Bouygues Telecom. A hard price and street date have yet to be set, but we can’t imagine that it will cost all that much, if anything at all, considering the $0.01 – $48.88 pricing we have here in the states. Vive la Curve.
Apple must end its exclusive agreement with Orange and allow other mobile providers to sell the iPhone in France according to a decision handed down today by France’s Competition Council. This temporary injunction was announced as part of an ongoing investigation into a complaint filed by Orange rival, Bouygues Telecom SA. In the complaint, Bouygues Telecom claims Apple’s exclusive deal with Orange is a serious threat to competition amongst mobile operators and is costly to consumers who are forced to switch providers in order to purchase an iPhone. The Competition Council, in its initial ruling agrees in part with Bouygues complaint, and states that the exclusive agreement between Orange and Apple “by nature introduces a new factor of rigidity in a sector that already lacks competition”. This temporary injunction will remain in effect until a final decision is made by the Competition Council. As expected, Bouygues Telecom is pleased with decision and is looking forward to selling the iPhone in the near future while representatives at Orange have not been available for comment.