T-Mobile to respond to iPhone link suspension

FRANKFURT/DUESSELDORF Tue Nov 20, 2007 4:56pm EST

An Apple's iPhone is displayed following its introduction in Berlin September 19, 2007. Deutsche Telekom's T-Mobile will respond on Wednesday to a preliminary German court injunction preventing it from linking sales of Apple's coveted iPhone to a two-year T-Mobile contract. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

An Apple's iPhone is displayed following its introduction in Berlin September 19, 2007. Deutsche Telekom's T-Mobile will respond on Wednesday to a preliminary German court injunction preventing it from linking sales of Apple's coveted iPhone to a two-year T-Mobile contract.

Credit: Reuters/Fabrizio Bensch

FRANKFURT/DUESSELDORF (Reuters) - Deutsche Telekom's T-Mobile will respond on Wednesday to a preliminary German court injunction preventing it from linking sales of Apple's coveted iPhone to a two-year T-Mobile contract.

A Hamburg court granted the injunction to rival Vodafone Group, which had hoped to win an exclusive pan-European deal to sell the iPhone but lost out to T-Mobile in Germany, Telefonica's O2 in the UK and France Telecom's Orange in France.

A T-Mobile spokesman declined to comment specifically on the company's options on Tuesday but said: "We will announce tomorrow how we will respond."

T-Mobile says it will object to the injunction. It could also reconsider the conditions under which it sells the iPhone.

Customers in Germany pay 399 euros ($590) for the music-playing and Web-browsing device -- half as much again as it costs in the United States -- and are obliged to agree to a 24-month contract with T-Mobile costing a minimum 1,176 euros.

T-Mobile is the only seller of the iPhone in Germany, where Apple has no stores.

In the United States, the phone can be bought in Apple stores, though AT&T is its exclusive service provider.

The head of Vodafone Germany told newspaper Frankfurter Rundschau the aim was not to stop T-Mobile from selling the iPhone but to examine whether the terms it had set were acceptable.

German mobile phone operator Debitel has also lodged a complaint with Germany's telecoms regulator about T-Mobile's iPhone deal.

"It is not permissible to link the use of the iPhone exclusively to T-Mobile's network," a Debitel spokeswoman said on Tuesday.

She added that Debitel complained to the regulator last month and was now waiting for a response from T-Mobile.

A spokesman for the federal network agency said it had asked T-Mobile to respond, but declined to divulge details.

(Writing by Georgina Prodhan; Editing by Braden Reddall)