Sabtu, 31 Mei 2008

As iPhone aficionados await the unveiling of new and faster models, they can look to the deals signed in recent days in Europe for hints of Apples new attitude toward service providers. Apple has signed agreements with service providers in Italy and Austria as well in a handful of smaller countries show that the company can deviate from its insistence on exclusivity.

Orange on Friday said it will sell the iPhone in several countries including Austria, where Deutsche Telekom has had the exclusive deal with Apple to sell the iPhone. Orange also will market the iPhone in Belgium, the Dominican Republic, Egypt, Jordan, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Switzerland, and some African countries.

In Italy, Vodafone and Telecom Italia will market the iPhone while Vodafone will sell the phone along with Frances Orange in Egypt and Portugal, and possibly some other countries. The multiple supplier deals indicate that Apples insistence on exclusive marketing agreements is breaking down.

It isnt clear whether that new attitude will affect AT&Ts five-year exclusive contract with Apple to sell the iPhone in the U.S. The European arrangements may not be possible in the states. And there are other issues: Verizon Wireless and Sprint Nextel both run on CDMA wireless infrastructure, not the GSM technology that AT&T and the iPhone use. So they arent likely candidates to offer the iPhone. One option: T-Mobile, which uses GSM. Its German parent, Deutsche Telekom, has been selling the iPhone in Europe.

In recent days, AT&T and T-Mobile USA have begun offering Wi-Fi service side-by-side in Starbucks locations.

As is well documented, the iPhone can be unlocked relatively easily and then used on GSM networks.

The expected introduction date for upgraded iPhones is June 9, when Apple holds its Worldwide Developers Conference.

This story was modified May 16 to correct the network on which an unlocked iPhone will work.

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