iPhone International: Orange Ousted, Arabia Impending

iPhone Risk May Roundup

2008 has come and gone and Apple is still adding regions and carriers to their iPhone 3G rollout. This time it's the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia according to Macworld:

UAE-based provider Emirates Telecommunications—aka "Etisalat"—will be selling the iPhone and providing service to both countries "later this month." The deal was announced in an advertisement in an English-language paper in the region.

Meanwhile, long time iPhone carrier, Orange in France, has seen it's exclusivity arrangement shattered by French courts (the same ones that said Amazon was being anti-competitive by offering free shipping -- don't get me started!). Ars Technica weighs in:

According to a report by Bloomberg, France Télécom, Orange's parent company, was "shocked by this decision" and, naturally, intends to appeal. Bouygues Télécom, France's third-largest mobile carrier and the company that brought the original complaint to the Competition Council, told Bloomberg that "talks are under way" with Apple to secure a distribution agreement. Vivendi's SFR subsidiary, France's second-largest carrier, also intends to strike a deal with Apple to sell iPhones.

Ars thinks a similar challenge in the US could theoretically lead to T-Mobile carrying the iPhone, but it's TiPb's understanding that T-Mo USA (unlike their parents in Europe) doesn't use the same 3G bands and hence would be limited to EDGE-only iPhone service (likewise, during the Round Robin, we had to run the Android G1 on EDGE on AT&T and Rogers).

So, anyone in the UAE and SA plan on picking up an iPhone? Anyone in France psyched about more carrier choice? Let us know!

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, ZEN and TECH, MacBreak Weekly. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter, App.net, Google+.

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There are 13 comments. Add yours.

Amon says:

Am not in any of these countries (UAE/ SA/ France). Am happy though that French subscribers will not be forced to move carriers if they decide to get yhemselves an iPhone! Personally I wouldnt be bothered too much if 3g is supported or not (given that wifi is available), thats a choice best left to users. I know of countries where 3g isnt available yet but iPhone 3g is selling like cakes! Am all for more choice and of course better deals fot consumers.

melwan says:

I know many friends in Saudi Arabia already have the iPhone, and it's not even offered there officially yet. There is also full Arabization (sp? lol) of the iPhone (display characters properly and fully functional keyboard for writing) on Cydia - it supports Urdu and Farsi also btw. I guess developers always pickup where Apple left off.

Irony says:

The filers of these suits needs to direct their fire at Apple. Then the courts could force Apple to only sell factory unlocked iPhones. Then the end user can choose for themselves. In the end everyone wins, because everyone can have an ihpne too!

Rene Ritchie says:

@irony: Apple could sell factory unlocked iPhone (they do in Hong Kong and Taiwan), but the up-front cost to the user would be much higher ($700 - $1000) so everybody wouldn't win. Many just wouldn't buy, and the market share would go down.
For some people/geographies, the $199 buy in is worth the accompanying lock-in.

Amon says:

If folks at isupple are to be believed then iPhone costs $224.33 to Apple, I wonder why they have to sell it for a crazy sum of $700-$1000, I know they need to make money what thats BS.
Link:http://www.engadget.com/2008/07/16/isuppli-sez-iphone-3g-is-running-appl...

Wyatt says:

True bean counters would have added in manpower, reserach & development, shipping, processing of orders, actual number of parts ordered and various other factors. All of which seem to be missing which makes their final cost assessment extremely incomplete and missleading.

Rene Ritchie says:

Wyatt is correct, first iSupply has no way of getting accurate figures, and even their guestimate doesn't account for the largest part of the iPhone's cost -- creating it.
The 200th iPhone maybe cost $225. The first one likely cost $2.25 billion(1) over the last 5-7 years :)
(1) Exaggerated in homage to Josh from the West Wing...

Amon says:

@Wyatt:
Possible, however would it make sense to price something at $700-$1000 when the base cost is about $224, I dont think it is. Does Apple want to kill the goose that lays the golden egg, kind of. I cited this an example of the Indian foray of iPhone, a country with more than a billion population but Apple hasnt managed to sell more that 20000 phones!

Amon says:

@Rene:
Possible too, but then a company has to decide what it wants to do in the market to be able to make some sense. India has been a goof up, Apple "screwed up" as the new President might want to put it! ;)

Tom McKenzie says:

It took them forever to get the iPhone out here to Dubai. The interesting part is that they were selling iPhones here since last year, even at the big retailers. They were cracked iPhones and I always wondered how Apple never noticed...

developar says:

I was staying in UAE when iPhone 3G launched, and already got officially unlocked one after a month, and most of my friends did.
So I think whoever wanted an iPhone already got it, it is a lose deal for UAE & KSA

Chobbs says:

I love AT&T. Never had a problem with them I haave rarely had a call dropped and I always get what I pay for. Has everyone forgotton visual voicemail. Didn't AT&T have to do some major work themselves to get this to work? I am sure some backwoods hacker has come up with a work around but I think apples success us due to it's near obssessive control if it's product. I will say it again... It just works.
Keep up the good work Apple!

Ra'ed says:

@ Developar; I frequently Visit SA and UAE and yes so many people have already got an officially unlocked iPhone although its not a lose deal for the provider and apple. as most people who already owns an iphone do not have a proper data service ($1.5 per MB). and data packages around $30 (over the current package price) includes 0.5 GB will only be available with the iPhone contracts. just like what they are having with the blackberry. So to get the data service you will have to get a new iphone from them. other wise you would have to pay $$$ excess each month for data usage.
P.S apple should release an unlocked iphone beside the current option. its horrible if you have a phone that you could only use in one country unless you pay excessive roaming charges when abroad.