Vodafone unveils own brand 3G device

Following in the footsteps of its rivals, Orange, O2 and T-Mobile, Vodafone on Thursday unveiled its first own-branded 3G handset.

The Vodafone 710, designed by Chinese manufacturer Huawei, will be launched in the UK, Germany, Spain, Italy, Ireland, Greece, Netherlands, Romania and Portugal from early October 2006.

The device packs an MP3 music player, 1.3 megapixel camera and Bluetooth and sports a range of Vodafone services including Vodafone Radio DJ, Mobile TV, music downloads, video telephony and Vodafone live!

The handset highlights a shift in strategy as operators’ increasingly leverage their purchasing power with Original Design Manufacturers (ODM) to promote their latest 3G consumer services.

Vodafone itself anticipates that the device will assist the uptake of 3G services, due to the lower cost per handset and the fact that the Vodafone 710 will provide wide market access to 3G.

Jens Schulte-Bockum, global director of terminals at Vodafone, sad the announcement “supports Vodafone’s commitment to drive 3G penetration across our customer base and the fact the Vodafone 710 will be available as prepay in many markets will help to achieve this.”

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