Telcos clam up on iPhone 4S injunction


news Australia’s major mobile carriers have declined to comment on whether they will stop selling Apple’s latest iPhone 4S handset or shipping the device to customers, following a legal attempt by smartphone rival Samsung yesterday to block the sale of the handset in Australia.

Yesterday, Samsung asked courts in both Australia and Japan to block the sale of the iPhone 4S. The move came just days after the launch on Friday morning of the device locally to great fanfare, with Australian telcos citing high levels of demand for Apple’s latest handset and still in the midst of shipping orders to customers located around the nation who had pre-ordered the device.

The move represents the latest round in legal wrangling between the pair, kicked off internationally by Apple, which believes Samsung’s Galaxy S smartphones and Galaxy Tab tablets infringe its patents and are too similar in design to Apple’s iPhone and iPad lines. Last week, Apple won a temporary injunction against Samsung selling in Australia its iPad rival tablet, the Galaxy Tab 10.1, until the legal wrangling over patents between the pair is resolved. Samsung has also filed a countersuit against Apple on patent matters in Australia.

It appears that a date has yet to be set for the pair to face off in Sydney’s Federal Court over the iPhone 4S issue.

Asked about the issue, a Telstra spokesperson noted the telco continued to sell the iPhone 4S, but declined any further comment. It is believed that both Vodafone and Optus also continue to sell the handset, but spokespeople for both telcos also declined to comment.

If Samsung is successful in its bid to stop sales of the iPhone 4S locally, the telcos and Apple itself will need to wrestle with the issue of how to deal with the many customers who have pre-ordered the new handset, but who have not yet actually taken delivery of the device.

Such a move would also cause the customers themselves to consider their purchases. Many of those who have expressed interest in buying an iPhone 4S are customers who previously owned an iPhone 3GS or even 3G — devices which do not sport the same features or functionality of the iPhone 4S or its predecessor, the iPhone 4.

Complicating the situation further, Telstra confirmed today that it is already out of stock for new orders of the iPhone 4S. “We’re out of stock for new orders which is why we stopped taking any,” wrote the telco’s executive director of its Digital division, Gerd Schenkel, on its customer forums today. “All orders we have taken have stock allocated against them, and we advised customers of that over the weekend. I’ll ensure this is also clarified again with our social media team.”

Image credit: Apple


  1. I am one of the many thousands of customers stuck in Telstra iPhone 4S pre-order hell at the moment. If Samsung causes the shipment of pre-orders to be put on hold I will be calling up Samsung and giving them a serve.

    • Apple started it by going after Samsung first, so give Apple a serve whilst you’re at it.

      • Actually it was Samsung that created a phone (the Galaxy S) and a tablet (the Galaxy Tab) which look like carbon copies of Apple products. So I would personally argue it was Samsung that fired the first shot.

        • Except that it wasn’t a carbon copy, in many under industries trying to claim the patents that Apple has received would be borderline impossible

        • You could argue that the Galaxy S looks like a Samsung F490 as well. The F490 was released about 6 months after the original iPhone, so you could possibly still argue that it was the “original” iPhone copy, though it’s kind of hard to imagine Samsung going from nothing to release in 6 months…

          But the F490 was preceded by the F800 which in turn was preceded by the F700 — the F700 was released in Feb 2007, months before the original iPhone.

          So while you can argue that the Galaxy S looks like an iPhone (and it does), there still seems to be a pretty clear evolution from Samsung’s earlier phones.

          I really don’t see the argument about the iPad/Galaxy Tab though. As far as I can see, all tablets look pretty much the same…

  2. It strikes me as unlikely that the telcos will want to stop taking money from customers. I mean, they would really, really have to hate money to stop selling iPhone 4Ss at this point. And the last time I checked telcos like money. Taking it, anyway.

  3. I doubt the telco’s make much money (if any) on the iPhone – it’s only if they can slot you into a 24 month plan is when they start wanting your money.

    Saying that, where I work we ordered a bunch of iPhone 4S at 9am on Friday, arrived 10am Monday for the happy Jobsian acolytes. Looking just then at their stock levels at Brightstar – they still have plenty of stock for half of 4S models. The other half are on back order.

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