Fujitsu's Arrow smartphone, launched in Japan earlier this year

Japanese electronics vendor Fujitsu has announced its intention to launch smartphones and tablets into the European market. The firm has a 20 per cent share of the Japanese mobile device market, according to Robert Pryke, director of Fujitsu’s European device business.

Pryke said that the vendor is currently in talks with European operators over potential distribution deals.

“Details of timings and devices that will be made available in European countries will be dependent on the outcome of ongoing negotiations with operators across Europe, including those with a pan-European footprint and those that provide services in just one territory. The company is looking for the right partnerships that will lead to steady and sustained growth,” Pryke said.

Fujitsu’s move comes at a time when the large operator groups are focused on reducing the numbers of device providers they work with, rather than increasing them. Last November, Matthew Key, head of Telefónica Digital announced that the operator is looking to cut its device range in half, while Vodafone’s head of device marketing Peter Becker-Pennrich recently told Telecoms.com that just eight vendors supply 98 per cent of the devices that Vodafone ranges, and that he expects this number to come down “quite a bit”.

Research by Accenture suggests that operators cannot get the best unit price from vendors until volumes rise above half a million.

“The research that we’ve carried out into the prices that manufacturers charge operators shows that, until you hit between 500,000 – 750,000 units, you don’t reach a manufacturer’s best price,” said Dan Adams, a partner at Accenture. “So operators have to set their portfolio so that a good chunk of it gets over that number per device. If they don’t, they’ll be paying more than the competition and, while they might have a better range of handsets that’s more adjusted to the local market, consumers are not going to pay more for a handset they can get cheaper elsewhere.”

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