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Unlocked iPhones coming to France

Never mind all those hackers out there, trying to stay one step ahead of Apple by breaking the SIM lock on the iPhone. It looks like Apple might have finally come undone by its own desire to put the unit on shelves in France.

Following Wednesday’s announcement that Apple and Orange have finally hammered out a deal, an Orange spokeswoman confirmed to telecoms.com that under a 2001 French law, any product that is sold as part of a package also has to be sold ‘naked’.

This means that if the iPhone is to be sold on an exclusive contract with Orange, it must also be sold as an unlocked product. So for example, a user could put a Bouygues Telecom SIM in the phone and make calls, the Orange spokeswoman said.

Undoubtedly, eBay entrepreneurs across France will see this as an opportunity to make a killing by flogging unlocked devices worldwide. But the expectation is that Apple will charge an arm and a leg above the arm and a leg it’s already charging for the locked model.

Naturally, owners of the unlocked device will not be able to use the Visual Voicemail service exclusive to Orange. We’ve also heard that the iTunes wifi music store will be out of bounds too.

Orange won’t tell us the price of an unlocked device before November 29. Expect it to be a lot. The carrier wouldn’t reveal details of any specific price plans prior to launch either.

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