Vodafone Germany has secured a restraining order against T-Mobile that threatens iPhone sales through Apple's mobile network partner.
In an attempt to hang on to subscribers, Vodafone is objecting to the move to make the iPhone uniquely available through T-Mobile. It argues that local consumer law demands the device be made available for use on all networks.
Vodafone Germany chief executive Friedrich Joussen said: "We want it to be available to buyers without a mandatory calling plan," he said. "If I had wanted to halt sales, I could have, but I didn't."
Vodafone admitted to concerns that other handset vendors may follow Apple's lead to secure exclusive arrangements with carriers, and that it is also concerned at the revenue sharing model around the iPhone.
Effectively, it is a legal move to protect the mobile industry status quo. Vodafone wants to ensure other handset makers don't explore exclusive deals and also wants to maintain the parity on handset price, as between manufacturers and networks.
T-Mobile has two weeks to respond to Vodafone's charges before a definitive court ruling is made.
Later statements indicate Vodafone isn't planning similar action in the UK.