While locked into deals with operators in both the US and the UK, the iPhone can be purchased in Germany without a contract and without being locked in to any particular network.
There is only the small matter of €999: a high price to pay for your iPhone’s freedom.
T-Mobile, the Bonn-based network that is providing the iPhone in Germany, is also offering the Apple handset at a price of €399, but this ties the user into a two-year contract.
While Apple has had no choice but to allow this to go ahead, due to Vodafone Germany winning the right to stop T-Mobile locking in the iPhone exclusively to its network, the case will come before German courts in two weeks time for review.
As regulation is different in Britain, Vodafone UK says it has no plans to make similar moves to its German counterpart.
In the meantime, it is thought that this may go the same way in France, as it is clearly defined in French law as illegal to sell a mobile handset that is locked in to one particular network.
Apple may be losing out on the revenue it receives through the exclusive two-year operator deal, but it may be the case that much of the €999 price tag is going towards compensating the Cupertino firm for this loss.
If you still want an iPhone before Christmas, all you have to do to obtain it legally is fly over to Germany, part with €999 and (Steve) Jobs is your uncle.
By Marie Boran