Vodafone UK has deployed two vending machines which will allow panic-stricken and mobileless punters in Manchester to buy a handset with a quid's worth of credit.
The mobilephoneco hopes that its "Quickphone" kiosks will become familiar sights across the UK, telling the Telegraph that they can be installed "anywhere, as long as there is an electricity supply". The machines offer three different phones in return for cash or chip and PIN payments.
Voda UK's retail division supremo, Tom Devine, explained: "Increasingly, more people know what they want from a phone and want to buy it when it suits them."
A spokesman further expounded: "These will be popular with people who need a phone in an emergency, either because they have lost their phone or it has run out of battery. They are for people who know what they want and who don't want to go through the rigmarole of talking to a sales assistant."
Good show - no longer will the UK's mobile-hungry public have to suffer the hard-sell banter of phone salesmen telling them that what they really want is not a device with which to make telphone calls but rather a 3G überphone with GPS, 8 megapixel camera, bluetooth, sixteen million polyphonic ringtones and a year's subscription to Premiership video highlights: yours for just 500 sovs if you take out the optional but highly recommended extended warranty cover.
Assuming, of course, that the Quickphone machine is designed to withstand the impact of a ram-raiding assault carried out by alcopop-fuelled teens in a nicked Ford Cosworth because, let's face it, a whole aggravation of Asbos will not deter the UK's youth from attempting to acquire a new Voda mobile at the full street discount. ®