Mobile telco, Vodafone Hutchison Australia, has indicated it isn’t willing to let its flagship HTC Desire HD handset be used on other carriers’ networks, and confirmed it would have exclusive Australian distribution “forever”.
It also will not offer an outright purchase price for the device.
The Desire HD is being billed as the “big brother” to the popular HTC Desire handset which launched exclusively on Telstra’s Next G network in April this year to great popularity.
The launch of the high-end handset is credited in the mobile industry with vaulting Google’s Android operating system to a level where it rivals Apple’s iPhone series in terms of popularity in Australia.
At the Sydney launch, VHA general manager of Devices and Pricing, Ross Parker, was asked whether VHA would hold the exclusivity on the handset “forever, forever”. Parker confirmed the arrangement.
In addition, Parker said there would be no immediate pricing plan where customers could buy the handset outright – meaning those who want the Desire HD will need to sign up to a monthly contract with VHA.
“We want to sell this to Vodafone customers,” he said.
VHA will launch the handset for zero dollars upfront on a $59 monthly plan – which constitutes a special $10 monthly discount.
In general, Parker said he expected the HTC Desire HD to rival Apple’s iPhone 4, which launched several months ago, in terms of its popularity with customers.
“Within our customer base – the feedback we’ve had – this is the most anticipated product we’ve seen over the past 12 months,” he said. “I would certainly expect, for our existing customers, that this would be challenging the popularity of the iPhone 4.”
Parker also praised Taiwan-based HTC in general, stating it was currently “the manufacturer which is delivering the best experience for the customer” on the Android platform.
“We’re pleased to see the partnership growing,” he said of the relationship between HTC and VHA.
Parker said the HTC Legend, which has reduced specifications compared with the Desire and Desire HD, had been selling “tremendously well” for VHA.
“Everyone’s been looking forward to that next step,” he said.
Parker described it as the best device he had ever used.
He said VHA expected the handset to be its number one product over the Christmas period.
In general, Parker said VHA also saw Android as representing “a massive opportunity” at the moment, pointing out Google’s baby was currently outselling the line-ups offered by both Apple and Research in Motion in the United States market.
Android-based handsets are offered by a number of manufacturers – such as HTC, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, and LG. Large manufacturers such as Apple, RIM and Nokia have preferred to focus on their own mobile operating systems.