iPhone International: Orange Ousted, Arabia Impending
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!