3 set to launch Facebook phone before Christmas

Mobile operator 3 is launching the first handset to have a Facebook button that will take users directly to the site. It will be part of an ultimate handset, which will be launched for Christmas

Mobile operator 3 is launching the first handset to have a “Facebook button” that will take users directly to the site. It will be part of an “ultimate handset”, which will be launched for Christmas.

It is the first operator to offer a handset that incorporates a social networking button into a phone. The launch comes as 3 ramps up its focus on mobile internet, which will be supported by a series of ad campaigns.

Mark Allera, 3 sales and marketing director, says the handset – which will be made by 3 – will create a “more integrated experience for the consumer”. It will be followed by other new handsets that will also be enabled with mobile internet functions.

The mobile operator is also calling for the EU and Ofcom to further reduce “termination” rates – the rates that operators have to pay to call each other – to give consumers cheaper calls. It says this will allow operators to offer cheaper bundled tariffs for mobile internet.

Allera says: “We want flat-rate pricing for all our customers. There’s complexity in the market and we want to simplify it.”

He adds that mobile internet has the potential to “become as normal as text messaging”. He says: “We are working on making it easy and simple. You’ve got to focus on taking the barriers away.”

Vodafone and Orange have also recently launched packages for fixed rate mobile internet. Orange offers an “anytime browsing” internet package, but says that a flat rate does not always fit with consumer data. Vodafone is offering its customers a package that includes mobile internet for a fixed price of £25.

Allera was promoted to the top marketing role at 3 after a merger of its sales and marketing teams, which resulted in the departure of sales and marketing direct-or John Penberthy-Smith (MW.co.uk May 13).

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