German rivals tussle over iPhone

A German court has ordered a unit of Deutsche Telekom to alter how it markets Apple's iPhone, an Associated Press report said.

The Associated Press report said the iPhone made its German debut on November 9, and has been available only with a two-year contract from Deustche Telekom's T-Mobile.

The German unit of rival Vodafone protested that practice at a state court in Hamburg, the report said.

T-Mobile said it was examining how to comply with a court injunction. The court issued an injunction, dated November 12, barring T-Mobile from offering the iPhone exclusively with a minimum 24-month contract, and also from selling it only with a so-called SIM lock that prevents users from switching the device to any other operator's network.

T-Mobile said sales of the iPhone would continue, but pledged in a statement to abide by the conditions set by the court until the legal situation is resolved.

T-Mobile said it would appeal the injunction and defended its marketing practices. It also said it reserves the right to consider seeking damages.

The head of Vodafone Deutschland, Friedrich Joussen, was quoted as telling the Bild daily that 'it cannot be that our customers can only get the iPhone with a long-term Telekom contract.'

'We want fast clarification by the court as to whether the iPhone should be (available) for all or just for the few,' he said.