Vodafone tests vending machine as new sales channel

Vodafone tests vending machine as new sales channel

Vodafone is testing the sale of mobile phones in vending machines.

After Coke, candy and cigarettes, vending machines are adding another goody to their assortment: mobile phones.

Vodafone Group, Europe's largest mobile phone operator, began selling mobile phones earlier this week in two vending machines in Manchester, England.

Depending on how customers respond to the new sales channel, Vodafone will consider introducing the service in other European markets, according to a company spokesperson.

The Quickphone vending machine offers customers three phones, beginning at £30 (US$54). The phone models will change monthly.

Also available is a Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) pack, priced at £5 ($US9), for those seeking a card only.

The service targets users who knew what they wanted and required no assistance, Vodafone said in a statement.

The vending machine, using technology and services from several vendors including the service arm of Fujitsu, uses 3G mobile broadband technology to inform Vodafone of stock levels, enabling the system to be used in remote areas.

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