I wrote in “Don’t pop down to Belgium to buy your phone…” that “After a little research, it turns out that Apple has certainly made the Belgian modes SIM-lock free exactly as the Belgian courts require — hard bundling, or koppelverkoop, is illegal in Belgium. However, the new SIMs must come from Belgium. SIM cards from any other country will not work. So, if you’re hoping to drive south of the border and pick yourself up a cheap Belgium SIM-lock free iPhone 3G to use in the Netherlands — or indeed anywhere else in the world, you’d be €600 out of pocket and the unhappy owner of a brick (or some heft roaming charges).”
As Knight points out in the comments, the Belgium iPhones do indeed work with any SIM from any network and any country. What confused me was that Mobistar and Apple said (at the time of writing the post) that the iPhones would not work with SIMs from other countries. Since then, they have taken this notice down from the website. It was either a straight lie in order to prevent consumers from other countries visiting Belgium to buy their iPhones, or since then — perhaps based on a court order — Apple has made their iPhones fully SIM-lock free in Belgium. As Knight also points out, it does leave me with a comparatively rather expensive (and as I write, still SIM-locked) iPhone. <sigh> For our American readers, you’re still looking at around $900-something for a SIM-lock free iPhone. Also note that they are, just as in other countries, very scarce.
Next step: how many mail order Belgium iPhone businesses are we going to see start up? How much more, if anything, will people be willing to pay for a legally unlocked iPhone? Given that some good apps only work with Installer (i.e. only work on a jail-broken iPhone), will some people attach more value to a jail-broken iPhone that a legal one?