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Vodafone Launches Hobbled iPhone 3G in Egypt

Apple’s iPhone 3G is now available in Egypt through Vodafone and Mobinil, but without GPS support. Apparently Egypt prohibits GPS sales, so the combination iPod and smartphone’s GPS has been disabled through a firmware change.

The handheld is also missing support for Arabic, and the Apple’s App Store isn’t available in Egypt yet, making it difficult for buyers to add new applications to their iPhone. The monthly plans also cap out wireless data usage at 250MB for the basic package, and 1GB a month for the most expensive package.

The iPhone 150 plan includes 150 talk minutes, 50 SMS messages, and 250MB data for 150LE (about US$27). The 300 plan comes with 300 talk minutes per month, 100 SMS messages, and 300MB of data for 250LE (about $45), the 600 plan offers 600 talk minutes, 150 SMS messages, and 500MB of data for 350LE (about $63), and the 1200 plan includes 1200 talk minutes, 200 SMS messages and 1GB of data for 550LE (about $99).

Since Egypt isn’t allowing GPS usage, don’t expect to see an update from Apple to re-enable the feature, but it could add Arabic support with a software update. The government imposed limitations could, however, lead to hacks that activate the iPhone’s built-in GPS.

[Thanks to TMO reader Khaled for the heads up.]

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