Vodafone unveils new 3G handsets for Xmas market


23 Sep 2004

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Vodafone has taken the wraps off 10 3G handsets planned for launch across Europe in time for the busy Christmas period but the operator has yet to decide which of them to offer to Irish consumers.

The range includes models from Sharp, Motorola, Sony Ericsson, NEC, Nokia and Samsung. Each phone will feature Vodafone’s multimedia consumer service, Vodafone Live! and will, says the operator, embody “significant improvements in imaging, music, entertainment and information”.

The selection will include the Sharp 902, Europe’s first two-megapixel camera phone, equipped with auto focus, optical zoom and high-resolution displays; handsets that offer CD music quality, stereo speakers and MP3 players; and devices that provide access to 3D gaming, video and audio streaming and video calling.

The full portfolio comprises the Sharp 802, Sharp 902, Motorola E1000, Motorola V980, Motorola C980, NEC’s Vodafone 802N, Sony Ericsson V800, Nokia 6630, Samsung Z110V and Samsung Z107V. The Sharp and NEC models will be exclusive to Vodafone while the operator will be first to market with several more of the handsets.

A spokeswoman for Vodafone said “a selection” but not all of the handsets would be available to Irish consumers. However, she confirmed the Sharp 902 would definitely be offered. The decision about the other models would be made in the coming weeks and would depend on consumer habits and preferences, she added.

Pricing information will be available from Vodafone in November.

Customers will be able to use the 3G handsets in both Europe and Japan over Vodafone’s global W-CDMA networks.

“The planned launch of our new 3G handset portfolio represents a major breakthrough in terms of handset choice,” said Peter Bamford, chief marketing officer with Vodafone. “It will also give consumers the opportunity to experience the enhanced range of Vodafone Live! with 3G services, opening up a whole new world of communication and entertainment via the mobile phone.”

O2, Ireland’s other operator building a 3G network, has yet to announce its marketing plans in relation to 3G and a spokesperson for the company was unable to offer any timeline for announcements.

By Brian Skelly