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Vodafone to sell phones like Coke

Company plans to set up its first phone-vending machines, targeted in part to tourists, in Manchester, United Kingdom.

Vodafone has taken a lesson from the likes of candy companies and Coca-Cola, and will now be selling some of its pay-as-you-go products through vending machines.

Each QuickPhone kiosk will offer a choice of three phones for sale, for between 30 pounds and 60 pounds ($53.47 and $106.95), as well as SIM (subscriber identity module) card-only packs for 5 pounds ($8.91).

The first two phone-spouting machines will be put up in Vodafone stores in Manchester, the company told Silicon.com. If all goes well, the operator will look to expand the scheme to other locations, potentially including airports, ferry terminals and shopping centers.

Through a 3G or GPRS connection, the phone vending machines will be able to report stock levels and provide alerts, if they have been tampered with.

Tom Devine, Vodafone's head of retail, said the vending machines are aimed at foreign visitors to the United Kingdom, those who need a phone in an emergency and "customers who know what they want and want to get the product as quickly as possible."

Jo Best of Silicon.com reported from London.