French Law to Require Optional Unlocked iPhones

| About: Apple Inc. (AAPL)

By Carl Howe

The Register has an interesting tidbit about Orange's deal to sell Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone in France:

French law will require Orange to offer unlocked handsets as well as ones locked to their network:

French law prevents carriers from tying handsets exclusively to their networks - consumers have to be able to move to a different network provider and take their phones with them. The upshot is that Orange will sell a locked iPhone for €399 alongside an unlocked model for a price that's yet to be specified by either party.

The big question is what the price of carrier freedom will be. My bet: an unlocked iPhone will cost €699 or €799. Why? Because Orange will have to pay Apple about €240 that Apple would have received over time from its cut of Orange the locked Orange service contract. And since Orange may never see the customer again, it needs to make a profit on the sale as well. I don't know how much Orange needs to make on an unlocked sale to make it worth stocking the phones, but the range from

€60 to €160 seems reasonable. According to the article, we'll find out in November before the iPhone goes on sale in France on November 29.