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iPhone's Reluctant Gray Marketer

Czech startup Bladox got a windfall when customers discovered its Turbo SIM circuit card could "unlock" the iPhone
Pavel Zaboj, co-founder of Prague's Bladox, maker of the Turbo SIM card.
Pavel Zaboj, co-founder of Prague's Bladox, maker of the Turbo SIM card.

Of the multitudes of people making a buck from gray-market sales of iPhones, Pavel Zaboj may be one of the most reluctant. Zaboj is the founder of a company called Bladox that breathed life into the burgeoning market for iPhones that have been reconfigured for compatibility with networks other than those of Apple-sanctioned carriers. But he says the ups and downs of demand have left him on a "roller coaster" he'd just as soon exit. "Please, no more talk about iPhones!," he says. "I honestly couldn't care less anymore."

Zaboj, a 36-year-old former mathematics student, had given little thought to Apple's (AAPL) much-hyped phone when it went on sale on June 29, 2007. Zaboj was hard at work with banks and other corporate clients developing applications that would let users pay bills and handle other tasks with their mobile phones. Bladox, a 10-person company in Prague, makes a wafer-thin circuit card, called a Turbo SIM, that allows a mobile phone to be used on multiple cellular networks. Zaboj hopes financial institutions may one day use Turbo SIMs to enable the increasing number of poor people around the world who own cell phones but not credit cards to more easily make purchases and pay bills.