Vodafone, the world's largest mobile operator by revenue, is seeking to broaden its Original Design Manufacturers (ODM) strategy by increasing cooperation with Chinese manufacturers.
Vodafone yesterday unveiled its first Vodafone-branded 3G (third generation) consumer handset, manufactured by China's Huawei Technologies to provide more cost-effective customized mobile phones to its customers.
Jens Schulte-Bockum, global director of Terminals at Vodafone, said the customized phone could be 30 percent cheaper than those made by Vodafone's first-tier partners such as Nokia. The phone, which supports Vodafone's core 3G services such as mobile TV and video calls, is set to be available in a number of European countries including the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain and Italy under a prepaid model from early October.
Previously, Vodafone has labelled phones sold to customers with dual brands, both Vodafone and the manufacturer. But now a single-brand strategy is part of the company's plan to "stretch the Vodafone brand to the handset space," said Schulte-Bockum, adding that the collaboration, with Huawei's expertise in 3G telephony, could help Vodafone better penetrate the 3G market.
Huawei is the largest Chinese telecoms equipment maker. In February, Huawei and Vodafone signed a deal under which the Chinese firm will supply Vodafone with consumer 3G handsets in 21 countries for five years.
The two firms also earlier signed a framework for network infrastructure supply, highlighting Huawei's growth into a major player in the telecom gear market.
(China Daily September 29, 2006)