European iPhone Launch Now Imminent

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The Apple iPhone is slated to see release in large parts of Europe starting this Friday, with three different carriers each having an exclusive on the device in a different country.

UK, Germany Go First

In the U.K., the iPhone will be available on the O2 network. Maximum purchase will be two per person, at a price of 269 (US$561) with new 18-month contract. There will be three service plans, all including unlimited data, starting at 35 (US$73) per month.

Also included for the price is free use of the roughly 7,500 "The Cloud" Wi-Fi access points in the UK. This will likely come in handy for many users since with the iPhone lacking 3G and O2 has little or no support for EDGE, users will be restricted to GPRS speeds over the cellular network.

Germany will receive the iPhone by way of T-Mobile, with a price tag of €399 (US$584). No word on monthly cost, but users will be expected to accept a 2-year contract. T-Mobile customers will be able to access the Internet at EDGE speeds, as well as use T-Mobile’s Wi-Fi hotspot network.

France Required to Wait

French Apple fans will have to have patience. Despite carrier Orange being lined up to provide the iPhone, that country isn’t slated to receive the much talked about smartphone until November 29. It’s unclear whether this is related to the fact that French law requires that unlocked versions of all mobile phones be available to purchase, thwarting Apple’s extreme measures to keep their iPhones from being easily ported between carriers.

Orange’s version of the iPhone will, like T-Mobile’s, sell for €399 (US$584).

Share and Share Alike

Like AT&T in the United States, all three European carriers of the iPhone have been obligated to share their revenues from the device with Apple — not just the initial price, for which Apple takes the vast majority, but also ten percent of the monthly fee paid by the iPhone users goes back to Cupertino’s coffers.

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