Last month, Apple announced that mobile operator Orange will begin selling both locked and unlocked iPhones in France in order to comply with local laws. Now, it appears that German consumers may soon be able to buy an iPhone that is not tied to a long-term contract as well, after Vodafone won a temporary injunction against larger rival T-Mobile.

Vodafone argued that T-Mobile - which beat it to an exclusive deal with Apple to sell the iPhone in Germany - has breached German competition laws by selling an unsubsidized, locked device. The temporary injunction, granted by a Hamburg court, prevents T-Mobile from selling the iPhone in combination with a two-year contract. T-Mobile is appealing the injunction and will defend its marketing practices at another hearing expected to take place in a couple of weeks

Of course, it is in Vodafone's best interest to let users activate the phone on its network so it can charge for voice minutes and data. Apple, on the other hand, would be less than thrilled with such a decision as the company reportedly receives a cut of iPhone revenues derived from phone calls and data functions. Vodafone said it has no plans to challenge the O2 deal in the UK because the same regulatory rules do not apply.