Vodafone lures 3G customers with 24-inspired drama

LONDON - A made-for-mobile drama inspired by the hit spy series '24' will be one of numerous innovations Vodafone hopes will persuade 10m users to sign up to its new 3G services, which launch today across the globe.

The mobile phone giant is launching 3G in 13 countries, including the UK, Japan, Germany, France and Australia.

It is rivalling Orange and Hutchison's 3 with services including video calling, full-track music downloads and content such as the made-for-mobile drama inspired by '24', the real-time serial where Kiefer Sutherland must save Los Angeles from terrorist attacks.

Dubbed 'Mobisodes', people will be able to view a series of 24 one-minute films called '24: Conspiracy', which tracks a parallel plot of specially created characters inspired by the television show.

Vodafone is pushing its new 3G services in the UK in the run-up to Christmas with a £13m campaign created by J Walter Thompson.

Arun Sarin, chief executive of Vodafone, said: "Vodafone Live! with 3G will dramatically change the way our customers experience their Vodafone services and we are confident that Vodafone Live! with 3G will be a success. Customers want communication, organisation, entertainment and information on the move and they will increasingly turn to one device to deliver these needs -- their mobile phone."

Sarin said that Vodafone expects 10m to have signed up for the service by March 2006.

Other features include trailers from a movie of the month, with the first film featured to be 'Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason', and mobile TV, which will allow people to download or stream clips from their favourite TV programmes.

Vodafone will offer 10 3G handsets, seven of which are exclusive to the company.

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