Vodafone said that it plans to introduce smartphones on a 12-month contract, providing fresh evidence that the UK smartphone market has become more competitive.
While other UK operators do not offer these 12-month deals, the company is thought to have been provoked into making this move by Tesco Mobile, an O2 MVNO, which has been heavily marketing 12-month smartphone contracts.
Vodafone, which is set to unleash its retail-based marketing campaign next month, will offer the HTC Desire HD, Research In Motion's BlackBerry Torch, the Samsung Nexus S and the Nokia N8, among others, with prices starting from £35 a month.
What might also have pushed Vodafone into this initiative are impending EU regulations that will force operators to offer 12-month contracts. However, the company said that its new campaign and the EU laws, which are said to be only months away, was coincidental.
Given that the UK is seen as the most competitive, and lowest margin, market in Europe, this battle to attract new contract subscribers on more attractive terms will be watched closely by operators in other major EU states.
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