In a move that has confused the market, Orange France has dramatically cut the price for the 8GB iPhone to just €99, and the 16GB model for an eye-catching €129. The handsets were previously priced at €149 and €199 respectively.
The company has given no indication as to why it has adopted these new prices, with speculation centred on Orange looking to boost its pre-Christmas sales figures, or that the company has higher than expected inventory. O2 and T-Mobile did offer steep discounts on 2G iPhones leading up to the launch of the 3G.
Industry chatter also indicates O2 is working on a strategy to enable it to negotiate iPhone pricing with potential subscribers, a subject currently strictly forbidden in their contract with Apple. However, all of this conjecture around iPhone end-user pricing has to be judged on the estimated US$500 operators pay to Apple for each iPhone.
Balance these prices in comparison to the €640 price for the 8GB iPhone that has just been launched in Bulgaria by the mobile operator Global--which is ultimately owned by Deutsche Telekom. To make matters worse, 3G and Wi-Fi coverage in Bulgaria remains very patchy.
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