Vodafone unveils own-brand handset

First in a long line?
Written by Jo Best, Contributor

First in a long line?

Vodafone has joined the own-brand phone club, launching the first device to bear its name today.

The 3G clamshell device, the Vodafone 710, is manufactured by Chinese hardware company Huawei and will be sold across Europe from early next month. A Vodafone spokesman declined to give pricing details, although the phone is likely to be aimed at the lower end of the market including pre-pay.

According to Vodafone, the device is designed to encourage consumers to try out new data services, including its mobile telly and radio services and portal. Data services have become the next great white hope for the operators to boost their ARPU (average revenue per user) although UK networks continue to struggle with encouraging users to take up services beyond SMS and MMS.

Vodafone is promising the 710 will be the first in a series of own-brand consumer handsets.

Vodafone's main rivals - O2, Orange and T-Mobile - all offer own-label kit, although to date, most operator-branded phones have been aimed at the business market and manufactured by original equipment manufacturer HTC.

Vodafone's 710 is not the first own-brand phone to be aimed at the consumer market in recent weeks however - O2 launched its Ice phone, based on Qualcomm's uiOne platform, in early September.


The Vodafone 710

Photo credit: Vodafone

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