The higher regional court of Hamburg (Hamburger Oberlandesgericht) yesterday ruled in favor of T-Mobile. Sipgate is not allowed to promote or distribute its iPhone application that allowed Voice-over-IP (VoIP) telephony on jailbroken iPhones anymore.
The issue is not the application, but installing Sipgates VoIP client required to jailbreak the iPhone. And jailbreaking of T-Mobile’s customer’s iPhones is illegal in germany. By the way: jailbreaking of iPhones bought abroad is not.
Now Sipgate struck back. Sipgate argued, T-Mobile in Germany advertises unlimited use of Internet, but in reality limits the use to a certain amount of MBytes and certain applications only. T-Mobile for example explicitly permits use of VoIP clients, Instant Messenger apps and VPN clients (although being pre-installed) on their iPhones. In contrast to their advertisements T-Mobile in fact does not offer unlimited Internet access.
The Hamburg District Court (AZ 315 O 360/08) now ruled in favour of Sipgate. T-Mobile is disallowed to use the term unlimited internet access in their advertisements any more. In case of violation of this court’s rule T-Mobile will need to pay 250,000€ fine.
It is rumored in german media, that T-Mobile is about to bar Sipgate’s application, that allows the iPhone to use Sipgate’s Voice-Over-IP (VoIP) services. T-Mobile argues Sipgate’s makes use of unfair business practices (like requiring to jailbreak in order to install Sipgate’s client) to pull customers from T-Mobile to Sipgate.