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Paris: City of unlocked iPhones

UPDATE: France Telecom today set its prices for iPhones locked and unlocked. See France’s $956 iPhone.

Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone goes on sale in France Wednesday night for 399 euros ($593) with a 2-year contract, and although we don’t know yet how much France Telecom plans to charge for an iPhone without a contract, we do know that it will be less than 999 euros ($1,485 at today’s exchange rates).

That’s how much T-Mobile is charging in Germany for unlocked iPhones, having been forced by court order to offer the devices both with and without a contract (see here).

France Telecom’s Orange division is also required to sell the iPhone in both configurations, but in an interview today with Europe 1 radio, Orange chief Didier Lombard said he planned to sell unlocked iPhones at a price “significantly lower” than 999 euros. Lombard also said he expected to sell “a little under 100,000 iPhones” before the end of the year.

Unlocked iPhones have been available on the gray market in Europe ever since September, when the first free unlock programs became available. You can pick them up in some French supermarkets for 999 euros. Look for those prices to come down, starting now.