mobile-bannertablet-bannerdesktop-banner

The $890 iPhone rebate

Apple (AAPL) and T-Mobile may have thought they could choke off the sale of unlocked iPhones in Germany by pricing them high enough -- and 999 euros ($1,485 at today's exchange rate) is certainly pretty steep for a cell phone that ordinarily sells for 399 euros in Europe and $399 in the U.S.

But they probably didn't figure on the competition using that 600 euro ($890) price differential as a crowbar to pry open the German iPhone market.

Debitel, a network operator that buys airtime from T-Mobile and other German carriers and resells it -- announced today that it is offering a 600 euro rebate to any customer who buys an iPhone from T-Mobile and agrees to use it instead on Debitel's cellular network.

T-Mobile had signed a deal with Apple to be the iPhone's exclusive carrier in Germany, but was ordered by a Hamburg court last week to offer customers the option of buying unlocked iPhones without a T-Mobile contract (see here). Debitel has apparently calculated that it's worth 600 euros each to lock customers into 2-year agreements.

France Telecom's Orange division is also planning to charge a premium on unlocked iPhones when the devices go on sale in France later this week, but one that's "substantially lower" than 600 euros. (See Paris: The city of unlocked iPhones.)

All products and services featured are based solely on editorial selection. FORTUNE may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website.

Quotes delayed at least 15 minutes. Market data provided by Interactive Data. ETF and Mutual Fund data provided by Morningstar, Inc. Dow Jones Terms & Conditions: http://www.djindexes.com/mdsidx/html/tandc/indexestandcs.html. S&P Index data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. Terms & Conditions. Powered and implemented by Interactive Data Managed Solutions