Hutchison 3G, the new entrant into UK mobile phone business, has admitted that it may not be able to get next-generation phones to customers by the end of the year.
Hundreds of handsets are being tested by "friendly users" and "friends of friends" and have uncovered a number of technical problems which have further delayed the launch. But the company remains upbeat over the testing phase.
"Everyday we are encountering and resolving numerous very, very small issues," said Matt Peacock, director of external relations at Hutchison 3G.
"There are no show stoppers; there is no one big thing that is preventing us putting the product into the shops."
Peacock explained that the company could not be absolutely certain of "putting the handsets into the hands of retail customers by the end of the year".
"The reason why we can't be certain is that it has got to be right," he said. "This thing has got to be 100 per cent right before we sell it and we won't sell it until then."
Peacock added that company staff were putting in very long hours in order get the service up and running as soon as possible.
As revealed by vnunet.com in October, the three shops - two in London and one in Birmingham - will allow customers a taste of 3G services.
Peacock confirmed that the problems will not prevent the shops opening at the end of this month.
"They are as much showcases and experience centres for 3G as they are retail outlets," he stated.
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