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Honor 6 Plus is first in line of exclusives for Three

Three is partnering with Honor for a string of exclusives -- until now the Chinese brand's phones have only been available directly from its online store.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

BARCELONA -- Three will be the first and only UK network to stock the Honor 6 Plus , a 5.5-inch, octa-core Android phone, when it launches later this year, the company has announced here at MWC.

The announcement is a significant one for Honor, the new phone brand owned by Chinese mobile giant Huawei, as up until now, it has only sold phones directly through its own website. While this strategy has allowed the firm to keep handset costs down, the majority of UK mobile purchases are made through networks and in stores.

By partnering with Three, Honor will be hoping to secure a stronger foothold in the UK, where Apple, Samsung and Sony currently dominate.

Getting the phone into the shops isn't always the end of the story, however, as various mobile firms offer commission if salespeople sell their products over another brand's. Three explained to me though that it does not allow commission on its sales in stores, so the Honor 6 Plus should be on a level playing field with other handsets.

The phone itself isn't a bad piece of kit. It has an attractive glossy front and back, a full HD (1,920x1,080-pixel) 5.5-inch display and an octa-core processor. It runs the older Android 4.4 KitKat, although Honor has promised an update to the latest 5.0 Lollipop in the summer. On the back are two camera lenses, which allow the phone to create interesting focusing effects. By combining two images, Honor claims, the camera can also reduce image noise in low light situations. I'll be putting that claim to the test when I get one in for review.

Three is yet to announce any prices for the handset, but it's expected to be somewhere around the £230 mark. It'll likely be free on contracts around £20 per month. The numerical network will sell the phone online, as well as around 20 of its stores around the country.

At this year's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Honor also showed off its new budget-orientated 4X handset, but Three will not be stocking this model.