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It really looked that easy: Apple picks one exclusive mobile network operator, negotiates a data flat fee fort he iPhone customers and makes money out of hardware sales and mobile spendings of the iPhone customers. And by the way Apple creates an iPhone-hype for the market rollout. The media loves the long lines of waiting iPhone-fans in front of the AppleStores at the first rollout day.

It still worked out great in the United States with their partner AT&T. But in Europe – and especially in Germany – the iPhone rollout evolves into a farce:

  • The iPhone can only play to it’s strength with a data flat rate. The customer must not think about the costs of fetching those e-mails, loading a web-page or getting the directions with GoogleMaps. The iPhone concept is only working this way! But T-Mobile seems to afraid of their customers: They sell them a data flat rate which, strictly speaking, isn’t a data flat rate: Depending on the rate plan, customers get a bandwidth limitation to a max. 64 kbit/s download and 16 kbit/s upload starting after downloading 200 MB (Complete M), 1 GB (Complete L) and 5 GB (Complete XL) per month. In plain language: T-Mobile is not charging any additional fees for heavy data usage, but they punish those customers by drastically throttling their data bandwidth.
  • The competitor Vodafone was able to provoke T-Mobile to offer a SIM-lock free iPhone for 999 Euro with an interim injunction against the exclusive T-Mobile iPhone bundle. The SIM-lock free iPhone is a world premiere – and a new uncertainty for the customers. Only the worldwide developer community has to thank Vodafone for that step: Now it will be much easier to get a SIM-lock-free test-device, worldwide. There will also be a SIM-lock-free iPhone in France – but anyway this fact is clear before the rollout on November 29th.

Maybe T-Mobile realizes that it would help them to cross their bandwidth-throttling footnote out of their contracts – then the farce would turn into a winter tale. Christmas is near ;-)

Sources: fscklog.com, macwelt.de, heise.de

Finally, rumors have come to an end: The Apple iPhone will be distributed in Germany by T-Mobile at a price of 399 EUR including a contract from November 9th 2007. The crucial question about the iPhone rates at T-Mobile is still left open.
Steve Jobs traveled to Berlin personally to present the new gadget with Deutsche Telekom CEO René Obermann.
From November 9th the iPhone will also be available in Great Britain and France. O2 (GB) will sell them for 269 GBP and Orange (FR) also for 399 EUR. In Great Britain the secret of the O2-iPhone rates was disclosed. O2 will charge a 35, 45 or 55 GBP per month rate for a data traffic flat rate an 200, 600 or 1,200 free minutes.
Accoding to FTD, the Deutsche Telekom is planning to sell one Million iPhones in the last quarter. That’s a quite remarkable number, especially because the missing UMTS support of the iPhone will probably may deter potential customers. Some probably will wait for the UMTS / 3G version of the iPhone which should be available next year. Also the market entry of the iPod-touch as a WiFi capable mobile Internet terminal at the end of this month will more likely lower the needs for iPhones than boost it.
For Apple as a company, for mobile application developers and for the endusers this isn’t bad news at all. Far from it: Because of the availability of a critical mass of standardized mobile web terminals (same screen-size, same usability, same web browser Safari 3) an innovative, viral and worldwide mobile business market may develop!
And this would also make the Deutsche Telekom happy, at the end ;-)

Sources: O2.co.uk, Ftd-reuters Video , Ftd.de, Apple.com

T-Mobile supposed to bet he big winner of the Apple iPhone Poker in Europe – according to the Financial Times Deutschland (FTD). Besides Germany, the Apple iPhone should also be distributed by the local Deutsche-Telekom-subsidiaries in Austria, the Netherlands, Hungary and Croatia. On Wednesday, Sep. 19th 2007 the Deutsche Telekom will hold a press conference in Berlin, Germany. Maybe this is the point to publish their negotiation achievements. The bitter pill T-Mobile had to swallow was substantial: According to the FTD, the network operator has to pay 10% of the voice- and data-revenues to Apple. A real novelty in the hotly contested mobile communication market – where only revenue-sharing in the sales field was common. Apple opens up a new market of constant revenues ;-)

Source: ftd.de (only German)

me-on-tv

It’s no secret, that video-telephony is not a "killer application" but a shelve warmer for mobile operators around the world. Video-telephony had to pay for a outstanding unique selling proposition for 3G or UMTS mobile phones over and over again. But it wasn’t convincing customers.
Now, Ericsson introduced a new 3G mobile application with the TV-production-company Endemol from the Netherlands: Me-On-TV. Mehr …

iPod touch

The Apple Event on September 5th with Steve Jobs was really stunning. The complete iPod product line is renewed and Apple created even a new type of iPod: the iPod touch. On the first look this is just a further development of the iPod-portfolio for watching movies in widescreen on the move. But it is far more – it’s a revolution!
Until now, iPods have been music playing devices … only some 3rd-party accessories enabled the iPod to record audio and you also can play some games on them. But the new iPod touch goes far beyond: WiFi/WLAN and the built in Safari webbrowser transform the music- and video-player into a mobile internet surfing terminal. On the one hand, Apple stimulates developers to create especially optimized webpages and content for the iPhone and the iPod touch. On the other hand Mehr …

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