2/13/2008 11:35:00 AM
Vodafone teams up with LG
LG is set to release its first mobile phone with Vodafone, ending the alleged pact that prevented the pair from working together.
The new deal will end a long-running gentleman’s agreement between Vodafone and LG’s Korean rival, Samsung, that the UK operator would not trade with LG in return for Samsung not supplying handsets to 3.
Samsung is understood to have received a commitment from Vodafone that it would consistently range a minimum amount of its phones and would not source devices from rival LG. In return, Samsung phones have not appeared with 3 since the operator launched in 2003.
Mobile first revealed the alleged agreement at the end of last year with news that Samsung was in discussions with 3 UK.
The deal between Vodafone and LG signals the end of a pact which was brokered on a global level amid intense rivalry between the mobile manufacturing chaebols.
A source close to the matter said: ‘The UK market has been a bit of a pawn in the rivalry between Samsung and LG. It has probably not been ideal for either company’s UK teams.’
Talks between Samsung UK chief Mark Mitchinson and 3’s CEO, Kevin Russell, took place in October last year, raising the prospect of Samsung phones appearing on 3’s range of handsets.
LG is understood to be so eager to side with Vodafone that it is lining up a range of phones, with some first-to-market and colour-exclusive deals on some of this year’s major handset launches.
LG is also believed to be in discussions with fashion brand Prada to bring out a new Prada II handset.
3 is keen to add a greater range of handsets to its portfolio since LG switched its focus from producing 3G handsets aimed at operators’ needs, to more design-based products for the likes of Carphone Warehouse and Phones 4u.
Samsung and LG are both keen to find ways to expand their market share after rival Nokia’s latest quarterly results revealed that the manufacturer has a 40% share of the global handset market.