Home Telecoms & NBN VIDEO Launch + Interview: Nokia 3310 with 3G at global Sydney launch

HMD has finally launched its incredibly well received Nokia 3310 handset with 3G, and did so first on a global basis in Sydney, Australia, where 2G networks no longer exist.

When Nokia announced the 3310 smartphone, there was some dismay that it was only available with 2G connectivity, something perfect for the vast majority of the world where 2G networks will still be in place until 2020 and beyond, but useless for Australia.

Australia no longer has 2G networks in operation at all, with 2G frequencies being refarmed for 4G frequencies as Australian telcos race to deliver as much 4G as possible, both in the cities and regions.

And, while 2G has been switched off, any closure of 3G networks is still many, many years away, so the only way that Australians were able to enjoy the 3310 is if Nokia would launch it in a 3G version – and that's precisely what they did!

Set to retail for A$89.95, and set to be available at cheaper pre-paid pricing, Nokia's new 3310 3G edition is obviously a return to the feature phone, and is about as anti-modern-smartphone as you can get.

The 3310 brings back the glory days of the Nokia candy bar, with a surge of nostalgia as you use it, use the once familiar key lock commands, play various games including the much loved Snake game (something that was a key theme for today's launch) and enjoy things like 27 days standby time, with 6.5-hours of talk time.

You can even do things like Facebook and Twitter on the Nokia 3310 3G, thanks to the 3G speeds, but obviously it will be a customised experience compared to the fully featured apps you'll find on smartphones. That said, they're available!

As the location of the event was a secret, with a water taxi pick-up from Sydney Circular Quay, I had imagined it the event might have taken place at Sydney's Fort Denison, rather than Taronga Zoo. 

I had also imagined we might have seen the return of a Nokia PureView camera phone with a successor to the 42 megapixel Nokia 808 camera from years ago, thanks to the new Zeiss lens collaboration to take photos of Sydney's skyline to zoom into again and again with incredible detail, but instead of a super-advanced camera phone, we happily got the opposite.

Indeed, as I thought about it, I realised that now was not the time to launch such a phone, as it would detract from the launch of Nokia's new 8 series flagship, with any PureView successors with high double digit pixel counts presumably yet to come in 2018 or beyond.

I also have to admit that the preamble about snakes as you can see in the video didn't cause me to twig that a 3G-enabled 3310 was about to be launched, but I was definitely glad to see it!

Indeed, it is my voice in the video remarking with a little disdain that it was a great shame Nokia hadn't yet launched a 3310 with 3G connectivity, only to have the Nokia 3310 with 3G revealed to us all just within the next minute or so!

The 3310 does come in four colours, and one expectation I had was "where are the interchangeable cases?". This is because that was a real strength for Nokia in its early days, but I could see from the design that a re-introduction of changeable cases isn't on the cards just yet.

That said, if the 3310 3G edition becomes a global smash hit, HMD would presumably be happy to consider that in the future. We do have to remember that mobile phone stores are flooded with devices and accessories already, so any case options have to make sense in the modern world, but hey, it's an idea that did Nokia such good in years gone by.

So, with a playful nod to the Nokia 3310 mobile gaming hit Snake, which is naturally described as "one of the most iconic mobile phone games of all time", the Nokia 3310 in 3G was launched at a global event hosted at Sydney’s iconic Taronga Zoo – home to the world’s most deadly snakes.

Pekka Rantala, HMD Global chief marketing officer, said: “We’ve listened to our customers and that’s why we’re proud today to announce that we are making the much loved 3310 available to even more fans across the globe — including Australia — with this modern classic now reborn in 3G.”

The Nokia 3310 in 3G will complement the new wave of already launched Nokia smartphones — the Nokia 3, Nokia 5, Nokia 6 and flagship Nokia 8 smartphone — as a companion feature phone.

Here's the key information from the launch, with the launch video and my video interview with Rantala, former original Nokia employee of over 20 years, following thereafter:

  • The announcement came in response to consumer demand and anticipation following the launch of the Nokia 3310 2G earlier this year at Mobile World Congress.
  • The Nokia 3310 in 3G boasts an incredible 6.5-hour talk-time, up to 27 days of standby time.
  • The Nokia 3310 in 3G features include a customisable user interface and a fresh, colourful, modern design.
  • The retro user interface has been improved to deliver an enhanced, customisable experience meaning you can change the icon colours and position to ensure your favourite functions are exactly where you want them to be.
  • The Nokia 3310 is available in two new colours, Azure and Charcoal, with a matte finish.
  • The Nokia 3310 3G will be available in Australia from mid October from JB Hi-Fi, Harvey Norman, Vodafone and Optus and will retail at $89.95 RRP.

Here's my video of Nokia's global launch event, which was revealed to be unveiling the 3310 3G edition:

Here's my video interview with Pekka Rantala, HDM Clobal chief marketing officer, and former original Nokia employee of over 20 years:


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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.


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