T-Mobile to offer G1 in more European countries

HAMBURG, Jan 19 (Reuters) - German Deutsche Telekom's DTEGn.DE wireless unit T-Mobile will begin selling its G1 phone, which has been available in Britain and the United States since October, in several European countries in coming weeks.

The G1 phone, made by Taiwan's HTC Corp 2498.TW, features a touch-sensitive screen, a computer-like keyboard, and Wi-Fi connections as well as popular Google applications such as search, maps and mail.

It is considered the most likely contender to the iconic status of Apple's AAPL.O iPhone.

“We will introduce the G1 by Jan. 30 in the Netherlands, Czech Republic and Austria,” T-Mobile Chief Executive Hamid Akhavan said on Monday.

The Android-based phone will be available in Germany on Feb. 2 and in Poland later that month, Akhavan said.

T-Mobile sells the G1 phone for $179 with a two-year contract in the United States and a T-Mobile USA executive has said an estimate of 400,000 phones sold by the end of 2008 in the United States was “not incredible”.

Akhavan declined to disclose precise numbers but said the G1 was the most successful phone ever sold in the United States.

“We have sold several hundred thousand phones. Sales have clearly exceeded our expectations,” Akhavan said.

In Germany the phone will sell for 1 euro ($1.33) in combination with a two-year contract with T-Mobile.

Mobile operators hope to generate continuous revenue streams from data traffic with the help of smart phones, as prices for mobile voice calls decline.

Google introduced its Android software system for designing mobile-phone devices in November 2007, in a move it promised could help the mobile phone industry make the Internet work as smoothly on phones as on computers.

Both Google and Apple are wooing developers to create applications for their devices, but unlike Apple, which keeps a tight grip on the iPhone’s hardware and operating software, Google’s Android is open to be changed by outside developers. (Reporting by Nicola Leske, editing by Dan Lalor)