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Richard Branson's dabble with the mobile phone market is reported to be suffering from a shortage of handsets. Virgin Mobile signed up more than 75,000 customers in its first month, putting it on course to net over 100,000 phone sales by the end of 1999, and a million in its first year. According to Branson, around 20 per cent of sales were online. The company, a 50-50 joint venture with One2One, also said it would start offering email via phones from January. And demand for the devices was understood to be outstripping supply, with today's Financial Times claiming the company's sales were being restrained by handset shortages. ®

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