Sony's PlayStation Vita will be stocked at Vodafone stores upon its release. The news comes after Sony and Vodafone forged a global alliance seeing similar arrangements carried out with Vodafone subsidiaries in the UK, Ireland, Italy, Germany, Spain, Portugal, New Zealand and the Netherlands.
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Sony's Vita is offered as a 3G and Wi-Fi model with a pocket breaking $449.95 price tag, which is $100 more than its introductory PlayStation 3. It features an ARM A9 QuadCore processor, a 5 inch OLED multitouch screen, front and rear cameras, GPS, Wi-Fi and 3G internet. However, there are variants which come without 3G internet with a RRP of $349.95.
Vodafone will be offering the Vita (3G + Wi Fi) outright at $449, or also available at $0 upfront on its yet-to-be-announced contract plans.
"Next year's launch of the Sony PS Vita on the new Vodafone 3G network marks an exciting new direction for us as we move into the world of personal mobile gaming," said Ross Parker, General Manager of Devices at Vodafone Australia.
Despite Sony's guiding push towards the questionable Vodafone network, the PS Vita isn't sim locked to any carrier. On the matter, a Sony spokesperson said:
"It is possible to use another provider as PS Vita isn't SIM locked.
"As we have partnered with Vodafone, we have fully tested PS Vita's features on their service and therefore can assure a great 3G service right from the off. We haven't tested with other providers' services and therefore can't give the same quality assurances."
Vodafone, who currently stock Apple's iPad 2, say they're "delighted" by the announcement and are glad their data services will be used for gaming.
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"We want our customers to have the best choice of devices and PlayStation Vita is a great addition to our range," Patrick Chomet, Vodafone's Group Terminals Director said in a statement today.
"We know from our application downloads that games are hugely popular with our customers, so we're delighted to be SCEE's preferred connectivity partner for 3G Vita devices sold across Europe and other selected regional markets."
Any other carrier endorsing a gaming handheld would be met with a parade, but Vodafone's recent media debacles have been the by-product of the carrier offering services its network couldn't handle. As a result they've been investing a billion dollars replacing and upgrading its telecommunication technology.
"We are bringing customers a network that delivers better indoor coverage, faster downloads and a stronger signal than before from Vodafone", said VHA's CEO, Nigel Dews. "The benefits of our accelerated investment are starting to show."
Vodafone claim over 60 sites per night are being upgraded to handle the increase in data usage devices like the Vita encourage.