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3 threatens the use of antitrust for iPhone

febrero 13, 2020

3 Italia ready to apply to the antitrust authority to verify whether the iPhone concession to Tim and Vodafone and not to other mobile operators violates the laws on free competition. The potentially explosive position of the mobile operator of the Hutchinson Whampoa group was announced by CEO Vincenzo Novari.

Speaking in the context of a meeting where the summer news was presented, Novari had the opportunity to talk about the iPhone declaring himself, according to the agencies, "more than interested in the Apple phone". 3 Italia would also have tried to make contact with the Apple, writing to Steve Jobs from which he would not have received an answer, almeo to date. "We have given our willingness to accept any contract – said Novari. If they do not respond, it means that there is an agreement that prevents new agreements. We are convinced that it is only a question of timing. But if not, we will ask the antitrust authorities what they think about it. "

The announcement of a possible antitrust appeal to verify whether or not the conditions of free competition exist in the margins of the iPhone launch is not new in Europe. In Germany Vodafone had requested and obtained, only to be defeated in the second instance, that the telephone should also be granted to T-Mobile's competition. For a few days the German mobile operator had sold the unlocked iPhone at a higher price. In France, the problems did not exist because, since the beginning, an unlocked version, usable on any network, of the iPhone has been on the market, even if the cost is much higher than the version blocked on the Orange operator.

The exposed of 3 could have some probability of being accepted if the phone was not made available that in a "locked" version on the networks of Vodafone and Tim, but at the moment there is a concrete hypothesis of an iPhone also in an unlocked version, sold perhaps through traditional channels (Apple Premium Resellers, Apple Store and Apple Retail Store). Several sources point to this possibility in the context of a marketing plan that will allow operators to sell the iPhone in a locked version at a discounted price in exchange for a multi-year contract. In short, iPhone at full price but unlocked and iPhone discounted, but locked.

The sale of discounted and exclusive phones, for some time, at an operator with the subsequent sale in unlocked version at full price is not an unknown practice in our market. And to date there is no mention of an antitrust intervention in this regard since no consumer could feel damaged because the purchase of the phone would not be closed to anyone as no one would be excluded from use on the network of their mobile operator. It would be enough to have the necessary cash. If, on the other hand, a favorable price is desired, it would be sufficient to contact one of the operators who sells it blocked against the payment of a contract.

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