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Isle of Man 3G network off and running

But only with one phone in a small room at Manx Telecom headquarters

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Manx Telecom - the Isle of Man's telco - has been lauding its 3G phone service with a demo at its headquarters. Terrific, you say.

Well, no and no. The service was supposed to go live in May in time for the TT races but collapsed under a series of problems. A big PR announcement had to be scrapped but was saved by the fact that the TT races were cancelled thanks to foot & mouth.

So what has Manx done? It has demonstrated one 3G handset working at the telco's headquarters. Why it felt the need to do this, we can't be sure, especially since the main problem in May was the remote network controller that enables phones to switch to different cells as you move about. That and the lack of handsets from NEC.

A spokesman for Manx assures us that it now has 200 handsets to play around with (it had three in May) and that future availability will not be a problem.

Chris Hall, MD of Manx Telecom, said: "This signifies another key step on the way to rolling out 3G on the Isle of Man" but he and any other Manx execs were not available for comment when we called up today.

The company reckons that the next-generation service will now be available at the end of the summer. Which, we suppose, means September. ®

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