T-Mobile UK launches first prepaid Android phone

Thu Sep 3, 2009 7:18am EDT

* T-Mobile to sell first pay-as-you-go Google Android phone

* Has no plans to sell iPhone in Britain

* Third-generation T-Mobile Android phone made by Huawei

(Adds details on international plans, iPhone)

LONDON, Sept 3 (Reuters) - Deutsche Telekom's (DTEGn.DE) T-Mobile is launching a new Google (GOOG.O) Android smartphone made by Huawei [HWT.UL] and selling it for the first time on a pay-as-you-go basis in the UK, raising its mass-market appeal.

T-Mobile, which has deals to sell Apple's (AAPL.O) rival iPhone in Germany and several other countries but not the UK or the United States, said on Thursday it would start selling the new phone, the T-Mobile Pulse, in October.

The pay-as-you-go version will sell in Britain, where T-Mobile is struggling as the second-smallest of five operators, for 179.99 pounds ($293.60), plus 5 pounds per month or 1 pound a day for Internet access.

That compares with 342.50 pounds for the cheapest pay-as-you-go iPhone or 538.30 pounds for the latest model in Britain, where it is sold exclusively by Telefonica's (TEF.MC) O2 and retail chain Carphone Warehouse CPW.L.

The Pulse is T-Mobile's third Android phone. The first two were made by Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC (2498.TW)>

Smartphones -- phones with computer-like capabilities such as Web access and email -- are the only section of the mobile phone market expected to grow this year. Sales of handsets in general are expected to fall about 10 percent globally.

Nokia (NOK1V.HE), the world's leading phone maker, this week bolstered its smartphone line-up to better compete in the hotly contested market, and gave details of a laptop that will be its first foray into computers. [nL2480970] T-Mobile UK, which has a large proportion of low-spending customers on SIM card-only contracts, began to lose customers last year as it failed to keep up with new deals and handsets offered by rivals, and is considered a ripe target for takeover. The T-Mobile Pulse is also likely to launch in the other seven European countries where T-Mobile operates during October, T-Mobile UK said, but not necessarily as a pay-as-you-go phone.

T-Mobile UK's head of handset marketing, Nicola Shenton, said there were no plans to sell the iPhone in Britain in the future. Many exclusive iPhone deals that Apple struck with operators will soon run out, though they may be renewed.

"There are no plans to sell the iPhone in the UK," she told journalists. "With Android, we don't need the iPhone."

The T-Mobile Pulse, which comes pre-installed with popular Google applications such as gmail and Google maps, features a large, 3.5 inch (8.9 cm) touchscreen, 3.2 megapixel camera and built-in GPS for satellite navigation.

It is powered by a Qualcomm (QCOM.O) chipset.

($1=.6128 Pound)

(Reporting by Georgina Prodhan; Editing by Hans Peters)

((georgina.prodhan@thomsonreuters.com; +4420 7542 7954; Reuters Messaging georgina.prodhan.reuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: TMOBILE GOOGLE/PHONE Keywords: TMOBILE GOOGLE/PHONE

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