Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/02/24/mobile_vending_machine/

Vodafone UK deploys mobile-vending machine

Hold on, that sounds familiar...

By Lester Haines

Posted in Mobile, 24th February 2006 15:54 GMT

Stop us if you've heard this one before: Vodafone is deploying a mobile vending machine for the benefit of the phone-hungry public of Manchester.

Yes indeed, according to a press release just in, (which, incidentally starts: "The vending machine has come a long way since the Ancient Greeks invented an urn dispensing holy water!" - the author of which has now been offered employment at Vulture Central), the mobilephoneco's Quickphone kiosk is "being piloted in Vodafone stores in Manchester".

Well, this is hardly news - the original Quickphone hit the mean Mancunian streets back in October last year, which prompted a Voda spokesperson to explain: "These will be popular with people who need a phone in an emergency, either because they have lost their phone or it has run out of battery. They are for people who know what they want and who don't want to go through the rigmarole of talking to a sales assistant."

Well yes, that's true, although as we then added: "Assuming, of course, that the Quickphone machine is designed to withstand the impact of a ram-raiding assault carried out by alcopop-fuelled teens in a nicked Ford Cosworth because, let's face it, a whole aggravation of Asbos will not deter the UK's youth from attempting to acquire a new Voda mobile at the full street discount."

Whatever the truth behind the Quickphone's relocation, we feel duty bound to note that it was "developed exclusively for Vodafone UK by UTL, utilising technology and mechanics from FAS (Italy), Vianet and Fujitsu Services [and] uses 3G technology to inform Vodafone of stock levels, enabling the vending machine to be used in even the most remote locations".

Assuming, we suppose, that there's a handy plug socket to power the thing, the Quickphone will offer a choice of three phones from 30 quid. You can pay by Chip and PIN or cash. Remember, you heard it here first - twice. ®