Here we go again.
Vertu, the high-end mobile phone maker created by Nokia but now owned by the son of an exiled Turkish businessman, announced today that its new line of super pricey feature phones will go on sale in limited markets starting in July. Dubbed, “Constellation,” the phones will be designed by Vertu and manufactured by TCL Communication under terms of a new deal, the companies said.
Vertu said that the “entry price” for the new Vertu phones is $9,500. This is in keeping with a company that previously released a handset that cost $10,000. Did we mention these are feature phones?
Now, let’s face it, no one you know will ever buy one. But perhaps the most intriguing part of the announcement was the semi-emergence of Vertu owner Hakan Uzan, who is quoted in the press release as saying:
“We are delighted to have signed this agreement with TCL Communication. It is the first of many considerable investments we are making into the business. TCL Communication is a valued partner of Vertu and we hope that this will be the start of a prosperous new chapter in our relationship.”
Uzan bought Vertu in March for around $51 million from a Chinese consortium that had acquired it after it was sold by Nokia. Ironically, Uzan has been facing legal issues in Britain related to a fraud lawsuit brought against him by Nokia, related to another telecom company he owned.
The press release notes Vertu’s headquarters are now in Paris, though the bulk of the company’s operations remain in the U.K.
The company did not respond to a request for further comment. But in the press release Uzan said this is just the beginning of what Vertu will do under this leadership.
“Customers will have access to limited, special edition Constellation X products as soon as mid-July, with full ramp up by early September. The new generation of Vertu Concierge Services will start being introduced in mid-July in limited markets, with a new wide-ranging portfolio of Vertu Life Style Products becoming available in Vertu Boutiques in early September,” Uzan said.