Virgin Mobile's Lobster fails to take off

Despite hiring Pamela Anderson to entice customers to its Lobster handset, Virgin Mobile is thought to have sold significantly less than 10,000 of the handsets.

The company launched the handset in October hoping that it would kickstart a new trend for mobile TV, but so far, the Guardian newspaper is reporting that sales have been disappointing.

Some analysts believe that this is because Virgin Mobile only offers five channels, but it could also be attributed to the fact that the Lobster handset is rather unattractive and chunky in this era of paired-down, slim handsets.

The price of the mobile has been dropped to below £100, but pay monthly customers on a contract of £25 or more get the phone and TV service for free. Pay-as-you-go customers, meanwhile, get a 3 month free trial, and then can subscribe for £5 a month.

Virgin Mobile's service is backed by BT Movio, and uses the digital radio spectrum to broadcast TV, whereas other mobile operators, including O2 who have run a mobile TV trial, use DVB-H.

Mobile operators hope to make a bid for the soon-to-be-disused analogue TV airwaves in order to use it for DVB-H.