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T-Mobile UK selling iPhones – to some lucky customers

T-Mobile UK starts shifting iPhones on the quiet • The Register:

“T-Mobile UK has started supplying iPhone 3G handsets to selected customers, while O2 UK continues to believe it has a UK exclusive on Apples last-generation handset.Apples 3G handset wont be available to just any T-Mobile customer – only high spenders who threaten to leave need apply, and only 150 of those a week will be lucky enough to get their hands on an officially-supported T-Mobile iPhone, though even that risks annoying Apple and will certainly have O2 up in arms.

So T-Mobile has imported an unknown number of iPhone 3G handsets from a European distributor, which it will be supplying to customers paying more than £75 a month if they threaten to leave – the latter clause enforced by allocating the handsets through 50 agents in the retentions department, and limiting those agents to three a week each.”

Ironically, I left T-Mobile and was one of those high-spending customers. It’s a sign that T-Mobile is desperate, if they’re prepared to buy an undiscounted, unsupported phone.

Plus, it rather lessens the chances that T-Mobile will be getting the iPhone officially. I’m sure Apple takes a dim view of what amounts to the old practice of “grey” importing.

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  • http://stefpause.com/ ManxStef

    Interesting. I’m guessing this is similar to what the telecom firms on the Isle of Man do: they import legal unlocked iPhones from the Czech Republic (I hear Italy’s also a popular source) and sell them with the usual tiers of minutes-plus-data contracts. The difference here is that the Manx carriers appear to be too small to negotiate with Apple, or are at least small enough for Apple to turn a blind eye, which somehow I don’t think applies with T-Mobile!

    However, if they’re bought legitimately in Europe then it *isn’t* ‘grey’ importing in the usual sense – I think the more fitting term is ‘parallel’. As well as this, the warrantees should be covered by EU Directive 1999/44/EC within the Union so they’re not really ‘unsupported’ either, though I’m not sure how this works if the items are classed as resold, which these may be.