More 3G phones for Hutchison

Hutchison, which plans to launch its 3G mobile service in the coming months, has ordered a million extra handsets - with some cool features

Hutchison 3G has shrugged off speculation that third-generation mobile phone services will be a flop by ordering an extra one million 3G devices from NEC.

The company on Wednesday announced the deal that doubles the number of NEC 3G handsets that Hutchison has ordered. Hutchison has said that the move marks the latest step in the rollout of 3, its 3G service.

Several different types of handsets have been ordered. All are dual-mode, meaning they will work on existing 2G networks as well as Hutchison's 3G network, and have a built-in digital camera and colour screen.

Customers cannot yet sign up to 3, and as ZDNet UK reported earlier this month Hutchison has not yet publicly set a date for a commercial launch.

About 1,000 "friendly users" are currently testing Hutchison's 3G networks in the UK and Italy, but the company has said that paying customers could start using 3 before the end of this year.

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