Hackers tune in to 3G as UAE awaits tech marvel

DUBAI — As little as 24 hours after the new iPhone 3G’s launch worldwide, hackers have found the key to unlocking it.

By David Light (Our staff reporter)

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Published: Thu 17 Jul 2008, 1:54 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 6:13 PM

The UAE, which again does not have distribution rights in place, will therefore find the market inundated with hacked iPhones from abroad as it will not be officially launched or sold here.

We asked a few residents here in Dubai what they thought about the fact they will not be able to officially purchase the new iPhone in the UAE.

Zunair Akbar, a student, said: “I think it is a complicated issue and that is why it is not coming here. Really I am not waiting with much anticipation for the new iPhone because there is still a lot of improvement that needs to be done.

“The camera is bad and emails are just as easy to send from a Blackberry, I also think it’s too big.”

Avinash Dhar said: “I’m going to pick mine up when go for a trip back to India. I didn’t bother with the old one because I was wary about getting it on the grey market here.

“Since I’ve heard about the updates to this one though I think I have to have it. I’m not so into the applications but for me if a phone looks and feels good I want it. It's disappointing I have to go to India to get it though.”

Samantha, a resident of Dubai, said. “The iPhone is user-friendly. I like the screen and functions but I don't think it’s the end of the world if it doesn’t arrive. If I get it I get it.”

Maria said: “I really like the new iPhone and think it is fairly priced which is nice. It will cost a lot more here because sellers will charge what they want.

“It would be nice to see emails on my phone and it’s a shame it is not on sale officially here at a set price.” What makes the iPhone 3G special is an increase in features including the ability to make video calls, better web surfing facilities and a new GPS system to name but a few.

The new iPhone which is retailing for less than half price of the original in parts of the world where there is a distribution agreement will have a substantial mark up if sold by traders in the Emirates.

According to arabianbusiness.com, sellers in the UAE will place almost a 200 per cent increase in price from the set $199. This will inflate the price to that of the original iPhone when it was released last year for around $599 thus cancelling any saving for those who waited for the updated version.

Whilst not being illegal to buy and use a hacked iPhone in the Emirates, Apple considers the act of hacking a violation of their terms of use.

The spokesman for the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority in the Emirates, Rasheed Joumblatt, reasoned why the UAE has no distribution rights in place: “Exclusivity is considered anti-competition in the UAE. If Apple does not open the iPhone to all in the UAE, it won’t be coming here”, he said.

He continued: “We don’t want anything to do with a monopoly. Exclusivity is close to monopoly and it is prohibited in the competition law of the telecom sector.”

The exclusivity issue relies on iPhones being sold on only one network with a set fee going to Apple and the ongoing contract revenue going to the service provider.

It is not thought that this issue will deter buyers in the region as it has been reported that the previous iPhone has been one of traders’ best sellers.

Buying an unlocked iOhone on the Internet will be relatively easy. They are on sale on auction sites and local sites such as Dubai-Mobiles.net are taking orders now. Unlocking software and techniques are also available on the Internet.

Similarly if a relative or friend is travelling to the US chances are you might ask them to pick one up. It does appear rather unfair that technology buffs in the UAE have to miss out on the chance to legally purchase their highly anticipated piece of equipment.

In France iPhones are sold unlocked as a result of their strict anti-competition laws so why not here?

The TRA declined to comment on that matter.

Whatever UAE residents want they usually get so expect to see iPhone 3Gs bleeping away in malls, restaurants and cinemas soon. They may cost quite a bit more than in other countries but since when has that stopped anyone here?


Will you wait for the official launch of iPhone 3G or go for hacked version?

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