It’s taken a mighty long time but 3G has taken a significant step towards becoming mainstream with the announcement from Vodafone that it has launched its 3G service for consumers along with six compatible phones. Up to now Hutchinson’s ‘3’ network was the only one offering 3G services in the UK, but has gnerally struggled to sell the advantages of faster network technology to UK consumers.
The new phones in the Vodafone 3G range are the Motorola V980, Motorola E1000, Nokia 6630, Samsung Z107, Sony Ericsson V800 and the Sharp 902. Four of these are available immediately, with the other two available in time for Christmas. The Sharp 902 is also the first two Megapixel camera phone in Europe and is equipped with auto focus and 2x optical zoom as well as stereo speakers.
With the new 3G service, users will be able to make person to person video calls, send and receive video messages of up to 12 seconds and download quality video clips from movies and football highlights. Vodafone will also be providing new ‘made for mobile’ TV-style content. Fans of the blockbuster TV series “24” will be able to view twenty-four one minute ‘mobisodes’ of “24:Conspiracy”, inspired by characters from the award winning TV series.
As well as video, customers will be able to download and listen to full audio tracks rather than just short bursts. You’ll also be able to download a selection of next generation games on a “try before you buy” system. As part of the upgrade the company has improved the menus of its Vodafone live! service for more efficient navigation.
The new handsets and service will be available through Vodafone Retail stores and online, as well as initially available through Carphone Warehouse. The launch of consumer 3G handsets follows Vodaphone’s launch of its Mobile Connect 3G data card in April and a extensive trial running on London, Manchester, Birmingham, and Glasgow. The service now covers 60 per cent of the UK
As well as the UK, Vodafone live! with 3G will launch in 13 countries, – Austria, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland.