Vodafone today announces the global launch of Vodafone live! with 3G across 13 countries. Vodafone live! with 3G will be available in Austria, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK.
* Extensive range of 10 new 3G handsets offering a wide choice for customers including seven Vodafone exclusive handsets and Europe's first 2 mega pixel camera phone - Sharp 902
* Enhanced portal design for even easier access
* Exciting new services including video calling, full track music downloads and 3D games
* Broader range of new and improved content, including: Extensive music catalogue from world's greatest artists, New made-for-mobile drama inspired by the blockbuster TV series "24," Exclusive videos, pictures, animated greetings and wallpaper, Launch of "Movie of the Month" starting with "Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason," UEFA Champions League and Barclays Premiership video clips, Exclusive Manchester United and Ferrari mobile video content, Exciting new, exclusive games from world's leading games publishers
* New approach to pricing offering even greater value to Vodafone customers including event based pricing model for content purchases
Vodafone has also created a new, easy to understand pricing model. This model is designed to ensure customers receive simpler bills and to encourage usage through increased cost transparency. Content purchases will be charged on an event basis and browsing will be free or included in a highly attractive bundle of services. Customers will also be offered promotional bundles to promote the uptake of new Vodafone services. 3G voice propositions will offer more value for money to customers, with each Vodafone operating company offering market specific pricing plans.
Further detail on Vodafone live! with 3G
Vodafone will offer an initial, extensive range of 10 new 3G handsets for the Christmas period from Sharp, Motorola, Sony Ericsson, NEC, Nokia and Samsung. Seven of the handsets are exclusive to Vodafone and the range has been designed to offer a wide customer choice of high, mid and low tier priced 3G devices. Seven handsets from this range will be available in Japan, with nine available in Europe.
Individual Vodafone operating companies have selected the most appropriate handsets for their local customer needs from this range.
The handsets have been designed in close collaboration with Vodafone's manufacturing partners to ensure easy to use service delivery with the now improved Vodafone live! portal.
Enhanced handset features now include:
* Better imaging capabilities: Europe's first 2 mega pixel camera phone
* Improved audio: stereo speakers, full track music download
* Expandable memory storage: 32MB provided as standard
Based on extensive customer feedback, the Vodafone live! with 3G portal has been significantly improved. Vodafone has made it even easier for customers to access services, enabling Vodafone live! with 3G to meet their needs quickly and intuitively. Customers can access the services that are important to them with fewer clicks and faster navigation.
The portal now offers faster downloads of services and topical content which is updated at least on a daily basis. Promotions will sit at the top of the page to provide customers with the latest offers and most up to date information. An initial number of Vodafone markets will also offer a dynamic portal, which automatically configures customers' favourite content to the top of their home page, meaning they can get to the services they want faster. This function will be deployed across an increasing number of Vodafone markets in due course.
Services and Content
Vodafone live! with 3G delivers new services to customers including video calling, full track music download, 3D games and mobile TV. Current Vodafone live! services and content have been improved through better quality sound, pictures and video, including services such as video and picture messaging.
Video calling enables Vodafone customers to see and hear one another when making a call. With several handsets in the initial 3G range, Vodafone live! with 3G customers will be able to flip the camera view of the handset to allow the person they are calling to see what they are seeing.
Picture and Video Messaging
Picture messaging has been improved, with better quality pictures which can be sent to friends, family or colleagues direct to camera phones, e-mail or the Web.
Customers can now take higher quality video messages due to the better camera resolutions of Vodafone live! with 3G handsets. The increased memory capabilities of Vodafone live! with 3G handsets allows customers to store more video and picture messages than ever before on their mobile phones.
Full Track Music Download
Music is a core offering of Vodafone live! with 3G. Customers can download full track music downloads to their handset and listen to near CD quality full music tracks, rather than small bursts of music through realtones or ring tones.
Thousands of full track music downloads from some of the world's greatest artists have been secured through an extension of Vodafone's existing deal with Sony BMG Music Entertainment, as well as new agreements for music from the catalogues of EMI and Warner Music. An exciting selection of master recording ring tones ("realtones") is also available from artists signed to EMI, Sony BMG Music Entertainment and Universal Mobile.
Customers will be able to download live performance videos from their favourite bands and stream award-winning programming clips like "Cribs" and "Dirty Sanchez" direct to their mobiles through Vodafone's multi-territory agreement with MTV.
Vodafone live! with 3G takes mobile games to the next level with its VFX games engine. Not only will the catalogue of Vodafone favourites be more accessible than ever before, but the larger download capabilities of Vodafone's 3G network will offer even better graphics, sound and depth to its games content, providing customers with a much better games experience.
The additional bandwidth of 3G also paves the way for high quality 3D games and Vodafone is introducing a range of branded titles at launch. These include a world mobile exclusive of the console smash hit "Crash Twinsanity" (Wonderphone/Vivendi Universal Games), Sega's "Super Real Tennis", stunning racing action with "Ferrari Experience 3D" and the downhill excitement of "Extreme Air Snowboarding" from Sumea/Digital Chocolate. Thrills of another kind are available in Superscape's "3D Evel-ution", based on the world-renowned stuntman, Evel Knievel. Another Sumea/Digital Chocolate produced Vodafone exclusive, and making its debut on mobile, is the fun and compelling, "Beach Minigolf".
A selection of Vodafone live! with 3G launch handsets will feature embedded, limited-play trials and trailers of the above titles enabling customers to "try before you buy". The Vodafone live! with 3G portal will feature a full dynamic listing of the games charts, ensuring customers always have easy access to the most popular games.
Customers in a number of countries will be able to catch up on their favourite television programmes by downloading or streaming video clips straight to their handsets. Customers will be able to view local and international sports, news, financial markets and other information and entertainment from leading brands.
With the signing of an exclusive deal with Twentieth Century Fox, Vodafone customers will be the first to experience a new generation of made-for-mobile TV and film content. For the first time, Vodafone customers will be able to go beyond the award winning drama series, "24", with a unique series inspired by the television blockbuster. Fans of "24" will be able to view twenty-four one minute mobisodes of "24: Conspiracy", which tracks a parallel plot of specially created characters inspired by the hit TV series.
Each month, Vodafone live! with 3G will host a "Movie of the Month", enabling customers to view trailers and clips of the film, as well as to download associated animated greetings, picture messages, wallpapers and ringtones. The first "Movie of the Month" is "Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason" and will be followed by the Walt Disney presentation of a Pixar Animation Studios film, "The Incredibles", and Twentieth Century Fox's "Robots", among other titles.
News and Sport
Vodafone live! with 3G enables Vodafone to deliver breaking news directly to customers through streamed video, video clips and picture bulletins. Bigger video clips for longer news pieces can now be downloaded by customers from leading news providers such as ITN in the UK, N24 in Germany, Rai News in Italy and El Mundo in Spain.
Customers will also be able to download video highlights of the UEFA Champions' League and a range of domestic leagues such as the Barclays Premier League, Serie A and B, the Bundesliga and La Liga. Manchester United and Ferrari video highlights and archive downloads will also be available.
Vodafone has created new pricing which is designed to be simple to encourage usage.
Vodafone live! with 3G customers will enjoy a new experience for buying content. Browsing will be free or included in a highly attractive bundle of services. Content purchases will now be charged on an event basis, rather than according to volume. The result is one simple line on the bill for all content charges relating to each download, enabling customers to easily track their purchases. In all markets Vodafone will be offering promotional packages designed to encourage adoption and trialling of new services.
The new pricing model will also offer customers more value for money for voice services as Vodafone is able to benefit its customers from the additional capacity that 3G brings to its networks.
Each Vodafone operating company will deliver pricing propositions tailored to the local needs of its customers based on these broad principles.
Core to the delivery of Vodafone live! with 3G are Vodafone's 3G networks. Vodafone has invested significantly to ensure its customers have 3G services of the highest quality. Vodafone customers will have seamless handover of voice and data services from 3G to 2G, ensuring high quality service delivery of Vodafone live! with 3G.
Vodafone's strategy is to deploy 3G network coverage which delivers a high quality service within defined data usage areas and then enhance this coverage over time with carefully monitored customer demand and licence requirements.
Vodafone's networks have been engineered to deliver a seamless voice, data and video calling roaming environment for a truly mobile service. Customers travelling within the 13 markets announced today will be able to use their Vodafone live! with 3G services seamlessly.