Vodafone Tries to Extend Its Brand to Mobile Phones

Last month we mentioned a series of articles in The Wall Street Journal about changes in the handset business. The series pointed out that the traditional players are facing growing competition from new smaller rivals. Well it seems that handset makers are not only under pressure from rivals but increasingly from their customers. Today’s WSJ reports that Vodafone is planning on launching custom handsets tied to new services. Custom handsets allow them to not only differentiate themselves but provide a consistent user experience across handsets and make it easier to roll out new services. While handset makers are working with Vodafone on this project its a major change in the nature of the relationship between carriers and equipment makers. Equipment makers used to push devices and services to carriers. But as services are becoming more complicated and revenues more dependent on non-voice products, carriers are pushing back.
Vodafone isn’t the first to go down this path and we expect many more carriers to offer handsets under their own brands.

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