France – A French competition watchdog has suspended an agreement between Apple Inc. and France telecom. The deal would’ve given iPhone 3G exclusivity to customers of the leading mobile phone carrier, called Orange. The five year exclusivity agreement was deemed “excessive, and poses a serious risk to competitors in the mobile market.”
The decision will take effect Thursday, and was done so that customers could purchase the device and a contract from other mobile carriers such as SFR, and Bouygues Telecom just in time for the holiday sales rush. SFR is hoping to begin selling iPhones today.
France Telecom stated that they want to appeal the decision because it puts France in a completely different position than Great Britain, Germany and Spain, where Apple also has exclusivity deals.
If Apple and France Telcom decide to defy the ruling, they will be facing a fine. Apple France had not commented at the time of this writing.