With iPhone Set For European Launch, British Unlockers Could Get An Apple Bricking - InformationWeek

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11/9/2007
04:42 PM
Alexander Wolfe
Alexander Wolfe
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With iPhone Set For European Launch, British Unlockers Could Get An Apple Bricking

Ready for some iBricking in the U.K.? With apologies to the Sex Pistols--I realize I'm straining for an analogy here--that could be the tune soon after the Friday evening launch of the iPhone in England by mobile-service provider O2.

Ready for some iBricking in the U.K.? With apologies to the Sex Pistols--I realize I'm straining for an analogy here--that could be the tune soon after the Friday evening launch of the iPhone in England by mobile-service provider O2.Simultaneously, the iPhone will launch in Germany via Deutsche Telekom's T-Mobile Germany unit. (Only 399 Euros for the 8-GB iPhone!)

While the iPhone in each case is tied to the carrier (O2 in England and T-Mobile in Germany), neither of the carriers appear to explicitly address the issue of whether the phone is permanently locked. Nor do they mention what'll happen if a user attempts to unlock it.

For example, O2 has posted a large number of frequently asked questions, but most of them address contract issues such as how long you have to sign on for (18 months, minimum) and how to activate your iPhone (it's a pain).

O2 is also cutting to the chase quicker than AT&T did in the United States, as far putting in crimp in eBay iPhone entrepreneurship. "To give everyone the chance to get their hands on an iPhone, we're afraid there's a limit of two iPhones per order at present," notes an O2 FAQ.

I'd give you the rundown on T-Mobile's (aka Deutsche Telekom's) policy, but after I click on "Die Highlights im Uberblick," I'm kind of lost.

Still, a salient point to remember is that the European Union apparently has laws related to phone locking, which are more consumer friendly than seems to be the case in the United States. (That's notwithstanding the fact that AT&T and Apple seem to have gone beyond what they're allowed to do, at least according to some interpretations of the DCMA, which appear to prohibit locking.)

Anyway, Engadget has noted that France has a law prohibiting locking, and there's been widespread discussion of English regulations which purportedly require service providers to sell customers phone-unlocking codes at a reasonable price.

Which still leaves open the question: Will Apple attempt to iBrick the iPhones of customers who play around which their handsets firmware? Don't bet that they won't.

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