Vodafone 3G services to fall short

Just what many pundits predicted - and not just for Vodafone...

Just what many pundits predicted - and not just for Vodafone...

Third-generation mobile phone services from Vodafone are unlikely to allow the fast data and multimedia applications that have been touted by the industry. While there are strict guidelines as to what constitutes 3G - or in Europe, UMTS - the world's largest mobile operator is reported to have told analysts in private briefings that initial services from its numerous networks will be slower than originally expected, and indeed required by some licensing bodies. This means certain types of content - the much-touted video clips, videoconferencing or viewing web pages - will be difficult. According to a report in the FT, the company will initially configure networks to handle data rates of 64K. The operator was not immediately available to confirm this. Vodafone has spent about £13bn on 10 European 3G licences, although its debt ratio remains lower than some of its main international competitors.