Vodafone has chosen South Korea’s Samsung to provide its first 3G phone for their kickstart launch of services in Germany and Portugal, but hopes to expand its range over the coming months to include handsets from Sony Ericsson. People close to the operator said Vodafone was also in discussions with LG of Korea and Japan’s Sanyo to purchase additional phones, highlighting Asian manufacturers’ lead in 3G technology. However, Finland’s Nokia is also developing a phone for Vodafone.
The launches are the prelude to much wider 3G service offerings across most of Vodafone’s other European operations later in the year. Mobile operators across Europe spent a total of about €100bn buying 3G licences at the height of the telecoms boom. The technology, as it is rolled out, will allow users to surf the internet and download pictures and other data at speeds several times faster than current 2G networks. Vodafone will also use the new technology to offer its customers live video calling, a service pioneered by Three, the mobile operator controlled by Hong Kong’s Hutchison Whampoa. Continue >>