France sells "cheap" unlocked iPhones for $1,100

  • Paris (France) - French mobile service provider Orange this week announced it would sell unlocked versions of the iPhone for around $1,100, beating the price set by its German counterpart.

    As part of legal disputes in Europe, Apple has been forced to allow sales of the iPhone without locking consumers into a two-year service contract with a defined mobile provider.  Apple takes a cut of all service fees paid through such arrangements.

    In Germany, T-Mobile began selling unlocked iPhones for around $1,470 earlier this month.  Orange is set to beat that price at around $1,100.  Customers will still be able to purchase the device with a contract for around $590.  Service plans range from around $70 to $170.

    Additionally, current iPhone Orange subscribers will be able to unlock their handset for around $150, and current Orange customers who have a device other than an iPhone can pay around $811 for it without signing a new contract.

    In the US, users must sign up for a two-year service plan from Cingular in order to purchase an iPhone.  However, hackers have been able to unlock the iPhones for months.