British mobile networks have been quietly dropping Sony Ericsson handsets, a sign that the brand is en route to a swift exit from the market. The buyout and forthcoming rebrand as Sony could rekindle demand for the phones, but in the meantime, the Sony phones made during its marriage with Swedish company Ericsson are off the shelves.
Vodafone has stopped selling new Sony Ericsson phones and has chosen not to include SE's latest flagship phone, the Xperia Arc S, in its product lineup online or in stores. Sony Ericsson phones are still available from Vodafone, but it's only selling out its existing stock.
A Vodafone spokesperson confirmed the omission in a call with The Reg today, after a reader pointed out a forum post from last month where a Vodafoner admitted that SE lines had been dumped.
"It's not the case that we're never going to stock Sony Ericsson phones," the Vodafoner told us, "but we don't have any plans to bring in the latest handset. But obviously we can't take every handset, we have to pick the ones we think will be right for our customers."
Commenting specifically on the Xperia Arc S, the spokesperson said: "we don't have any plans to bring it into our product line-up".
On the Vodafone website a drop-down list that allows you to browse phones by maker doesn't offer Sony Ericsson as an option. The Xperia Arc S is available with Vodafone SIM cards through third parties, but the Vodafoner stressed that those deals weren't official Vodafone packages.
The Vodafoner mentioned that the company does plan to stock the new Sony gaming device the PSVita when it lands in the UK.
Neither T-Mobile nor Orange's online shop stock Sony Ericsson's new Xperia Arc S either: T-Mobile is only offering two SE handsets – the Xperia Neo V and the Xperia Mini Pro. Orange is only offering the Xperia Ray.
Three does appear to be selling the phone.
Sony's next generation of phones – minus the Ericsson tag – will include the Xperia Ion, expected Q3 this year. ®