Vodaphone Asks Courts to Block T-Mobile iPhone Sales in Germany

| About: Vodafone Group (VOD)

By Carl Howe

From the "If you can't beat 'em, sue 'em" department, Vodafone has obtained a restraining order in Germany against T-Mobile's exclusive deal to sell iPhones. Vodaphone (NASDAQ:VOD)claims in their filing that they don't want to prohibit all iPhone sales, but simply wants the new sales practices including exclusive T-Mobile network use examined.

This seems a bit odd given Vodaphone's assertions that the iPhone will be good for mobile carriers in general and Vodaphone's UMTS network in particular (an interesting claim given that the iPhone doesn't use UMTS). But hey, it beats shutting down customer service to avoid defections to Vodaphone rivals who have iPhones. But we in America shouldn't assume that T-Mobile has a slam dunk defense either. Europe has fair-competition laws that are designed to allow consumers choice, and Vodaphone might be able to make that work for them. And in any case, we'll be seeing unlocked iPhones in France in two weeks because of a French law requiring carriers to offer unlocked as well as locked phones.

You have to admit, it's an interesting development.