Virgin gets its claws into Lobster launch

Pots of handsets on the way...

Pots of handsets on the way...

Virgin Mobile has announced it's jumping from being an operator to being a handset vendor.

The mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) is teaming up with Korean manufacturer Bellwave to bring out a new range of phones under the brand name Lobster. The phones, according to Virgin, are targeted at young consumers between the ages of 16 and 30.

The operator is planning a series of Lobsters this year, with the first handset - the 485 - available from early June.

The MVNO is also hoping the handset launch will drive data revenue as all Lobster phones will sport a shortcut button on the keypad to take users to Virgin's entertainment service.

Virgin's move into 'niche' co-branded handsets comes hot on the heels of fellow operator Vodafone's own move to stamp its name on a series of phones. Vodafone, however, is seeking silver surfers with its Simply mobiles, which boast call and text functionality only.