Court upholds iPhone exclusivity for T-Mobile

T-Mobile can sell Apple's sought-after iPhone exclusively locked to its own service, a German court ruled, reversing an injunction last month requiring the company to sell an unlocked version in Europe's biggest economy, an Associated Press report said.

The Associated Press report said the Hamburg District Court said that T-Mobile, part of Deutsche Telekom, could indeed sell the phone, coupled with a two-year contract, that could not be used on networks provided by rival wireless companies.

The arrangement is similar to those Apple has with other carriers around the world. In the US, AT&T is Apple's exclusive partner.

The company will stop selling an unlocked version but said that after customers' contracts expire, it will unlock their iPhone at no charge, the report added.

The iPhone made its German debut on November 9, available only with the two-year contract from T-Mobile. The German unit of rival Vodafone Group protested that at the Hamburg court, the report said.

That court agreed, issuing an injunction barring T-Mobile from offering the iPhone tied to the minimum 24-month contract and from selling it only with a so-called SIM lock that prevents users from switching the device to any other operator's network, the report added.