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Hutchison orders 2 million 3G phones from NEC

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Hutchison Wampoa has doubled its order of dual-mode 3G phones from NEC to two million units. Nice work for NEC and nicer for Hutchison which needs lots of handsets, if it is to roll-out its greenfield 3 mobile phone networks in a meaningful fashion. To date it has taken delivery of just 1,000 handsets from NEC. The value of the contract is not revealed.

The NEC 3G handsets come in three foldphone flavours. The company promises "computer-style keyboards, built-in cameras and significantly larger colour screens, which let customers experience 3G services to their fullest: mobile communication, Internet and audiovisual features all in one. The devices include a substantial memory of up to 64MB, built-in Java functions and purpose-built software."

NEC is not one of the big five handset makers, but it has a consumer brand that the target Hutchison 3G customers will have heard of. It's instructive to note that the great 3G Handset Drought may not be quite so prolonged as analysts orginally forecast. There is, after all, plenty of spare manufacturing capacity worldwide. ®

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