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France’s $956 iPhone

Apple's (AAPL) iPhone goes on sale in France late tonight at select Orange boutiques at prices that look very different from those charged in the U.S. ($399), the U.K. (289 pounds) or Germany (399 euros locked, 999 euros unlocked).

France Telecom, which owns Orange, knew even before it signed its exclusive deal with Apple that it was going to be required to offer customers the option of buying the iPhone with or without a contract. Agence France Press (link, in French) reports that Orange has structured its prices accordingly.

  • 749 euros ($1,109) unlocked iPhone, no contract
  • 649 euros ($956) locked iPhone, no contract
  • 549 euros ($809) unlocked iPhone, with Orange contract
  • 399 euros ($588) locked iPhone, with Orange contract
  • 100 euros ($147) to unlock a locked iPhone

After six months, Orange will unlock an iPhone for free.

T-Mobile, which had already signed its exclusive deal with Apple when it learned that it would be required to offer German customers the contract-free option, is charging a 600 euro premium for unlocked iPhones. Yesterday a competitor, Debitel, offered a 600 euro rebate to people who bought unlocked iPhones from T-Mobile but agreed to sign a contract with Debitel instead (see The $890 iPhone Rebate).

Official sales of the iPhone in France begin tomorrow, Nov. 29.

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