Vodafone struggles with 3G

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We continue today’s Guardian love-in by bringing to your attention a great piece from Richard Wray about the way in which Vodafone has been struggling to attract punters to its new 3G service. Apparently it has so far secured around 200,000 subscribers – less if the gossip-mongers are to be believed – which is pretty small beer seeing as it invested so heavily in its 3G marketing and advertising campaigns.

The piece points out that very few of those customers are new to the network, but rather they have bought 3G phones to replace existing Vodafone Live! handsets. Persuading consumers to invest in bulky, less sexy phones with battery life that is less than their existing handsets on the premise they can watch a bit of video or make a video call was always going to be tough. And Vodafone hasn’t made it easy for itself by not pitching its 3G service competitively, a lesson that O2 and Orange has quickly learnt.

We are sure that come the end of the year Vodafone will be accelerating towards its proposed ten million subscribers across Europe and Japan, but it is going to have to rustle up a few carrots to achieve this. Incidentally the Sharp/Vodafone 902 is the favourite phone of some writers in this parish (initials AN) – but hey that isn’t much of a recommendation now is it!?

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