Does Vodafone need a new flagship handset?


On our sister site Delimiter Marketplace, we’ve just published the news that Vodafone has discounted the HTC Desire HD, as well as giving customers additional credit (up from $50 to $100) when they purchase the Google Nexus S. The lowdown:

“The Desire had been selling for a $5 monthly handset cost on a $45 plan over 24 months, but Vodafone today cut the $5 monthly handset fee. Now, customers will get the Desire HD for zero dollars upfront on any of its Infinite plans (starting from $45 monthly) over 24 months, or for zero dollars up-front on a capped plan starting from $49 per month.”

All this discounting leads us to wonder whether Vodafone needs a new flagship handset to stack up against those being offered by Optus, but particularly Telstra.

Optus and Virgin have an exclusive on the HTC Incredible S, which we consider one of the best smartphones on the market at the moment, while Telstra is selling the Motorola Atrix, and is about to go two-nil on its rivals by also offering the HTC Sensation, a device which we expect to be one of the top two Android smartphones on the market in the next few months.

The other top contender, Samsung’s Galaxy S II, is of course, sharing its favours with all three telcos, so customers can pick and choose. However, Telstra today claimed to have optimised the handset for its Next G network, giving it another edge over embattled Vodafone.

With its reputation in tatters due to the outages earlier this year, the class action pending and its handset line-up looking a little rusty compared to the competition (the Desire HD launched in October 2010), we’d suggest what Vodafone needs right now is a good, old-fashioned exclusive on a hot handset. Something that will really wow us. Something Telstra and Optus won’t be able to get their hands on.

And here’s hoping it’ll come before Christmas. Because if not … Vodafone’s offerings will be looking positively ancient.

Image credit: HTC


  1. Nexus prime? Though it is nothing but a rumour now, and if it does arrive, it won’t be till q4. Probably need something before that.

    • Interesting idea. I had that tinkering away in the back if my head as well … and Google has tended to prefer Vodafone for its self-branded launches; likely because of Vodafone’s multi-country scale etc.

      • It may also have something to do with Verizon in the US – given Vodafone plc – (VHA’s parent company) – owns about 45% of Verizon Wireless.

  2. I’ll play devil’s advocate here and turn this around; do you think that Vodafone’s negative image is scaring off handset manufacturers from pairing up exclusively with them?

    If a handset maker has just turned out a hot new smartphone I imagine the last thing they’d want for it is to be tarnished by being shackled to a poorly-performing network.

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