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Orange Poland shops allegedly creating fake iPhone 3G queues

Not content to wait for the enthusiastic fans that greeted some iPhone 3G launches, Orange Poland is said to be paying actors to sit in line and attract genuine customers.

The claim comes after Reuters discussed the upcoming Friday launch with an anonymous spokesman who isn't attributed to any one company but is implied to work for Orange's Polish branch.

"We have these fake queues at front of 20 stores around the country to drum up interest in the iPhone," the representative states.

It's not immediately evident what concerns might exist that would prompt a staged introduction, though the news organization speculates that the subscription cost of the iPhone might deter some customers.

Discovering the truth behind the claim, however, is difficult. Orange hasn't published its Polish iPhone 3G prices or rates, even the day before launch, and at press time redirects all visitors from its main company website to the generic iPhone page with a placeholder image.

Some of that dissatisfaction may be evident in the plans for Orange's Polish iPhone rival, Era. While its base plan at $43 per month is relatively affordable with 150 minutes of calls, 450 SMS messages, and 500MB of data, the next step up immediately boosts the price to $88 per month for 350 minutes, 1,050 messages, and 2GB of data; a premium customer would have to pay as much as $156 per month even while limited to 800 minutes of voice, 2,400 messages, and 5GB of Internet bandwidth.

Accordingly, Era's stores — which don't appear to be following in Orange's footsteps — are reported as free of lineups as of Thursday evening.