Vodafone has today unveiled its first Vodafone-only branded 3G consumer handset, the Vodafone 710, which will see the mobile network operator become a brand name in its own right in the consumer handset market.
The Vodafone 710's features, design and functionality were specified by Vodafone to maximize customers' use of its services. It is the first handset manufactured for Vodafone by China's Huawei Technologies as a result of a strategic handset alliance signed by the two companies in February 2006. The device is supported by the leading, industry standard, Qualcomm chipset.
The handset is part of the company's strategy to leverage its purchasing power with Original Design Manufacturers (ODM) to the benefit of its customers and offers all the latest 3G consumer services and a sleek, clamshell design at a new, low cost. The ODM-produced handset range will enable Vodafone to meet its aim to develop mobile phones that can match established, global handset brands on quality, technology and on price, underpinned by the strength of the Vodafone brand. The move will assist the uptake of 3G services, due to the lower cost per handset and the fact that the Vodafone 710 will be offered on prepay as well as contract, and will provide wide market access to 3G.
The Vodafone 710 incorporates easy access to core Vodafone services including Vodafone Radio DJ, Mobile TV, music downloads, video telephony and Vodafone live! with 3G. In addition, the handset includes an MP3 music player, a 1.3 megapixel camera and Bluetooth. The Vodafone 710 will be launched in the UK, Germany, Spain, Italy, Ireland, Greece, Netherlands, Romania and Portugal from early October 2006.
Jens Schulte-Bockum, Global Director of Terminals at Vodafone said: "The Vodafone 710 is Vodafone's first own-branded 3G consumer handset, and we are delighted that it represents everything that customers have come to expect from Vodafone -- high level technologies and exceptional value for money. We're proud that this phone carries only the Vodafone name."
"Today's announcement supports Vodafone's commitment to drive 3G penetration across our customer base and the fact the Vodafone 710 will be available as prepay in many markets will help to achieve this. The arrival of the Vodafone 710 illustrates how we're actively reducing both costs and stimulating revenues through adding depth and choice to the range of 3G consumer devices for our customers."
As part of Vodafone's intention to introduce further Vodafone-branded handsets and devices to the market, the company has relocated part of its terminals division from Japan to Hong Kong to spearhead the sourcing of new devices and to negotiate contracts with Asian manufacturers, aimed at bringing cutting-edge technologies to Vodafone customers at market-beating prices.