Vodafone launch 3G in UK

Vodafone has launched its 3G services today with six handsets: Motorola V980, Motorola E1000, Nokia 6630, Samsung Z107, Sony Ericsson V980 and the Sharp 902. Four are available immediately. the v980, e1000, z107 (although only as an online purchase) and the Sony Ericsson V800.

The launch phone range includes Europe's first 2 mega pixel camera phone, equipped with auto focus, optical zoom and high resolution displays along with a number of exclusive models and designs that offer near CD quality music, stereo speakers and music players as well as access to 3D game playing.

Vodafone are boasting 60 percent coverage across the UK with that number growing, however the service will be stronger around urban areas. Customers with one of the new phones will have access to Vodafone's services nationwide; when they move out of 3G coverage they will seamlessly move on to the existing 2.5G network, only losing the ability to make video calls or experience video streaming.

The service will be on sale through Vodafone Retail stores and online, as well as initially available through Carphone Warehouse, The Link and Phones 4u. Phone prices are from free up to £300 depending on the selected tariff, with both Contract and Prepay versions available.

Prices for the standard all-in package will be £40 a month, include 100 text and 50 minutes of video calling, movie trailer downloads and sports roundups. Realising this may be a bit rich for some its basic package costs £15 and 3G services and features can be bolted on for additional costs. Interestingly Vodafone Live! is also touting a music download service at £1.50 per track. Tracks can be downloaded to the phone, although DRM means you won't be able to transfer it anywhere else.

Vodafone are hoping to reach 10million customers by 2006.