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Operators say the new generation of mobile phones will drive a media revolution.
According to Peter Bamford, Vodafone's chief marketing officer, the launch of third-generation, or 3G, mobile phone services marks a milestone comparable to the advent of colour television.
While Bamford's hyperbole is predictable, given that Vodafone launched its 3G offering last week, it is worth remembering that in the UK mobile phones are still viewed primarily as a communication tool, as opposed to a source of entertainment. So Vodafone's competitors will be watching closely to see if the company has got its timing right in convincing the public otherwise. The rest of us will want to see quite what Vodafone can offer to justify Bamford's boldness.
The stakes are undoubtedly high. Four years ago, the major mobile operators paid the Government pounds 22.4 billion for the UK's six 3G licences. Hutchison Whampoa's 3 …