Decision in the iPhone process postponed

Decision in the iPhone process postponed

iPhone opponents and enthusiasts not only in Germany were eagerly awaiting today's trial between T-Mobile and Vodafone, which was heard before the Hamburg district court. A verdict was not announced until Monday next week.

T-Mobile has had to use the iPhone without a SIM since November 21, 2007 in Germany because of an injunction by its competitor Vodafone -Lock, but requires a proud 999, - euros and now chose the route to civil chamber 15 of the Hamburg district court in order to be able to return to the old sales model with contractual obligations. Although a verdict from the presiding judge Markus Schneider will not be announced until Monday, T-Mobile has already announced that it will adjust the iPhone's commitment period. The T-Mobile lawyer Wissmann assured that the iPhone could be unlocked at the customer's request after the two-year contract expires. So far, the iPhone has been locked even after the minimum contract period has expired.

In a two-hour negotiation, both sides were given time today to present their point of view. T-Mobile defended the business model in the form of lawyer Wissmann and described the sales model as “a complete product” and a “consumer-friendly construction”. Wissmann also pointed out that “what defines the product does not work in the defendant's network”. For the first time, T-Mobile also commented on the purchase price of the iPhone in this context. T-Mobile assured namely in lieu of an oath that one would buy the iPhone from Apple at a purchase price 'several hundred euros' above the 399 euros incurred when the contract was signed. As a result, contrary to general opinion, the iPhone is a subsidized cell phone, so that binding to a two-year contract is not only common but also permissible.

Vodafone takes a different view and denies that the iPhone is a subsidized mobile phone. Vodafone attorney Ulrich Pross sees “arbitrary pricing” in the tariff structure. Rather, he is of the opinion that T-Mobile would like to nail down customers with an exclusive contract and that they will be torn down both technically and contractually this contract is likely to restrict or distort competition ”. Vodafone sees the sales model as a violation of antitrust law. Judge Schneider is aware of the scope of his task and recalled that the outcome of the proceedings is also internationally significant. “I was called about the procedure by the European Commission. They all seem to take it very seriously, ”he said. At the same time, the court increased the amount in dispute from 500,000 to two million euros.

It remains to be seen whether T-Mobile will meet the court's ideas with its announcement that it will unlock the iPhone after the contract period corresponds sufficiently and may return to the controversial contract model, or whether the court will impose further conditions. Perhaps on Monday the legal situation will be clarified once and for all not only for this individual case but also for the future, in which such sales models could quickly become fashionable, so that one can build on a legally sound basis like in France. The iPhone has been officially available in France since today - even without a SIM lock .