Apple iPhone set to launch in Germany and U.K.
Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone makes its European debut Friday, starting with a special midnight event at T-Mobile’s flagship Telekom shop in Cologne, Germany. Sales in the U.K. start at 6:02 p.m. at Apple, O2 and Carphone Warehouse outlets.
The openings have been preceded in the U.K. by the usual Apple marketing drum roll: TV ads in heavy rotation, flattering reviews in the national media (the Telegraph) and the Web (Trusted Reviews), and an exquisitely timed change in policy. O2 announced a week before launch that it has scrapped plans to cap Web usage at 200 megabytes per month, and instead allow iPhone owners unlimited downloads.
Carphone Warehouse, Britain’s largest cellphone chain, says it expects to move 10,000 iPhones in the first four hours. O2 has estimated that, all told, Apple will sell 200,000 iPhones in the U.K. and Ireland before the end of the year.
Promotions in Germany have been more low-key. Ten days before launch, Apple watchers in Germany reported that the only visible signs that the iPhone was coming were posters in the windows of small T-Mobile shops and 6-foot displays with a countdown clock in big T-Mobile stores. Only in the past few days has the steady stream of junk mail promoting T-Mobile’s other cellphones been supplemented with a four-page iPhone flier.
Europeans have criticized the iPhone for offering 2.5G service rather than the 3G service to which they have become accustomed. To compensate, Apple has made arrangements for free Wi-Fi service through The Cloud in the U.K. and T-Mobile hotspots in Germany.
The iPhone, which sells for $399 in the U.S., will cost £269 ($565) in the U.K. and €399 ($587) in Germany. Both prices include 19% V.A.T.
France Telecom is scheduled to start selling the iPhone through its Orange subsidiary on Nov. 29.