France: iPhone Price To Remain High

The Issue: Unlike other European nations, France’s exclusive iPhone service provider – France T√©l√©com Orange – has announced that they will not lower the price of the iPhone until the new version is released.

The Story: Given the fact that 8GB iPhones run $620 in France, and the fact that unlocked iPhones are pouring in from the States, France’s exclusive iPhone service provider, France T√©l√©com Orange, is feeling the pain. They aren’t alone. UK’s O2 and Germany’s T-Mobile are right there next to them, all enduring decreased iPhone sales. However, O2 and T-Mobile have dropped the price of their iPhones. France, however, will not.

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On April 4th, Germany’s T-Mobile had cut the price on 8GB iPhones to ‚Ǩ99 (US$155). This price, of course, is only offered with a T-Mobile contract sign-up, and doesn’t apply to the 16GB iPhone. By dropping their price, Germany set the wheels in motion for Europian iPhone subsidation. This trend however, only made its way to England.

UK’s O2 originally offered the 8GB iPhone at ¬£269($525), but had cut the cost by ¬£100 ($195) on April 18th to ¬£169 ($330) in order to increase sales.

France Télécom Orange demands a staggering €400 ($620) for the 8GB, and €500($775) for the 16GB iPhone. Service Ranges from €50 ($77) to €150 ($230) a month. This has led to a much lower customer-base for the iPhone Рespecially since there are many other touchscreen handheld devices available in the European market. Unlike O2 and T-Mobile, Orange announced today that they will not drop their price until Apple releases a new version of the iPhone in France.

What reason does France have for not lowering the price? Let’s speculate.

Perhaps the demand for the iPhone has been steady and unchanging since Apple’s exclusive contract with Orange. Dropping the price would simply result in a loss of revenue.

Perhaps Orange realizes that the iPhone 2.0 is coming out soon – sometime in June? – and it’s simply not worth the price drop to alter sales for the remaining month or two until it’s on the market. Here’s what would happen – the iPhone becomes cheaper, so more people buy it, now more people have it, so less people will want the iPhone 2.0. And the iPhone 2.0 is where they wanna make the big bucks.

Importance: Moving to Europe? Got a budget? Want an iPhone? Don’t get it in France.

What says the…

Geek: All this talk about the iPhone 2.0 is getting me excited.

Socialite: I have about 60 Myspace friends from France, and let me tell ya – they’re pissed.

Soccer Mom: And I care about prices in France because…