Vodafone plans to attract more subscribers with low-cost 3G phones

British mobile giant Vodafone Group has launched the first of its own-brand

consumer 3G handset last week, in a bid to accelerate consumer uptake of

3G services.


The new Vodafone 710 clamshell handset will be supplied by Chinese telecom equipment manufacturer Huawei Technologies under a strategic handset agreement the two companies signed in February this year.


Jens Schulte-Bockhum, global director of terminals at Vodafone, said the company expected the launch of the new low-cost handset will help accelerate the uptake of 3G services, especially from prepaid segment.


He said the handset will cost 30% less than that supplied by tier-one handset makers, which usually sell between $200-300.


The new handset, which includes an MP3 player, a 1.3-mega pixel camera and

Bluetooth connectivity, enable customers easier access to Vodafone's  core

3G services such as Vodafone Radio DJ, mobile TV, music downloads and video



Schulte-Bockhum said Vodafone will launch the handsets in all its major

units in Europe, including the UK, Germany, Spain and Portugal, from early

next month. The company plans to deliver a minimum of 200,000 units

initially over the coming six months.


According to Schulte-Bockhum, Huawei is the second handset vendor supplying

customized, white-label mobile phones to Vodafone, after Taiwan's HTC, which

has provided Vodafone-branded smartphones for the group's high-end business