Deutsche Telekom scored a victory in a legal battle with rival Vodafone over sales conditions for the coveted Apple iPhone, which T-Mobile sells exclusively in Germany.
A German court ruled on Tuesday Deutsche Telekom's mobile unit can make customers who buy the music-playing and web-browsing device take out a T-Mobile contract as well and may continue to offer the device with a locked SIM card.
A locked card prevents the device from being used on rival networks.
Deutsche Telekom secured an exclusive deal with Apple to sell the iPhone in Germany, where Apple has no stores. Customers had to sign up to a 24-month T-Mobile contract costing a minimum of 1,176 euros ($1,734) in order to buy the 399 euro phone.
Vodafone had won
a temporary court injunction preventing T-Mobile from locking the iPhone's SIM card and offering it only in combination with a T-Mobile contract.
Vodafone's move forced T-Mobile to allow customers in Germany to buy Apple's iPhone without having to sign
a T-Mobile contract. However, today's court ruling opens the way for the German company to return to its original sales conditions for the iPhone.