Vodafone will have its network ready for third-generation (3G) services in the UK by November, but remains coy as to when it will actually launch a service to customers.
The network infrastructure will cover major metropolitan areas and key road and rail transport links. Various handsets are being evaluated for use with the network, but no supply contracts have been signed.
"3G is going to rely on data services and we won't launch until they are ready," said a Vodafone spokeswoman.
"We'll have the network ready to go but we're not going to launch a service until there's something for people to do with it."
The company is trying to avoid hyping 3G after the experience of earlier services such as Wireless Application Protocol, where marketing raised consumer expectations and slowed market take-up.
Hutchison's 3 launched its 3G service earlier this month.
Vodafone chairman Chris Gent will step down next Tuesday, on 1 April, with non-executive director Arun Sarin taking over his role.
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