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Paper offers Nokia N-Gage for 1p

No wonder game retailers can't shift it

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When Nokia launched its N-Gage console-cum-phone, it was keen that mobile phone networks shouldn't subsidise the handset and thus limit the scope for games retailers to offer the product competitively.

Alas, the Finnish phone maker failed. O2 and T-Mobile are currently offering the N-Gage for £100 - less than half what it's supposed to retail for. Vodafone wants £120 for it. By contrast, Amazon.co.uk wants £210 for a SIM-free package.

But if you think those are big subsidies, what about this? UK newspaper The Sun is offering the handset via its website for just one penny. Of course, there's a £28 per month airtime contract with Vodafone you have to sign up for too, but you'd need to do that anyway - N-Gage doesn't work unless you put a SIM into it, which is a bizarre result for a product that's supposed to be a games console first and a phone a very distant second.

In any case, the monthly fee is a small price to pay for getting the handset for nothing (effectively).

Such subsidies no doubt explain why games retailers report poor sales of the N-Gage, while Nokia itself claims to have shipped some 400,000 units around the world since launch. ®

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