Vodafone and Sony Computer Entertainment Europe announced a partnership that will see the operator become the preferred provide to offer connectivity for the 3G version of Sony's new portable gaming console, PlayStation Vita.
The partnership extends across Europe, taking in the U.K., Ireland, Italy, Germany, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands and Vodafone's Partner in France (SFR), as well as in Australia and New Zealand.
The PlayStation Vita will be sold as a Wi-Fi-only model ($249) and a combined 3G and Wi-Fi model ($299). The combo model will enable gamers to compete online wherever they are and to use social networking tools, such as Twitter and Facebook. Customers will be able to purchase both 3G and Wi-Fi only models of the PS Vita direct from Vodafone channels in stores and online.
AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) is Sony's connectivity partner in the U.S. Additional details about data plans and pricing will be announced later, although the companies said that PlayStation Vita customers with an AT&T service plan will have free access at more than 24,000 AT&T Wi-Fi hotspots nationwide.
The device will be an interesting test as to how gamers view 3G connectivity. The nascent tablet market has yet to see significant growth in 3G-enabled tablets, and cheaper tablets such as the Amazon Kindle Fire that are Wi-Fi-only are expected to be a popular holiday sales item. Analysts say tablet owners are loath to add another 3G data plan. AT&T offers a pay-as-you-go tablet plan so it is likely Sony gamers will be offered similar plans.
The PS Vita will ship in Japan before Christmas and is scheduled to arrive in Europe and the U.S. in February.
- see this telecoms.com article
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