3 leans on LG as 3G gathers momentum

After finally cracking the one-million customer mark, 3 is hoping that its new video handset from LG will sell as well as its predecessor

The past few years have been pretty tough for 3, but latest figures suggest that things are looking up for the third-generation mobile operator.

The company announced on Monday that it has signed up 1.2 million 3G customers in the UK, and over 3.2 million worldwide. It had missed an earlier target of attracting one million 3G customers in the UK by the end of 2003.

The company was the first to sell 3G phones in the UK. Although the operator won't say how handsets have been popular with customers, the LG U8110 video handset has been the top-selling model on contract at 3, and indeed across all mobile operators.

"It's been selling very well," said a 3 spokeswoman.

The operator has remained loyal to LG, and has just begun selling the manufacturer's latest phone, the LG U8120. This is an updated version of the U8110, and the main difference is that it includes 32MB of memory rather than 16MB.

Both phones support video calls and will let users access streaming video footage.