Mobile phone operator T-Mobile has removed Nokia 7210 handset from its stores until the Finnish phone maker resolves a software glitch.

It has pulled the 7210 colour-screen model, which offers picture messaging, email and high-speed internet access via packet-based GPRS (general public radio service) technology, due to a software problem, said T-Mobile spokeswoman Elaine Devereux. "The phone has a software bug that can cause the handset to freeze," Devereux said. "We've been forced to pull the phones from our stores until Nokia fixes the problem."

Devereux declined to provide technical details.

The problem has surfaced at a bad time for Nokia as the run up to Christmas is a strong sales month, with mobile phones proving one of the most popular present purchases.

Nokia is working on the error and hopes to have it resolved "very shortly," said company spokesman Kari Tuutti. "The problem is specific to the T-Mobile network in the UK. We have encountered no problems with the 7210 model that we are selling in large volumes to other operators across Europe."

Tuutti also declined to specify the problem, saying only that each GSM network "is slightly different" requiring handsets to be "finetuned."

"We haven't yet been able to reach perfect performance with the 7210 in the T-Mobile network in the UK but we will," he said.

According to Tuutti, Nokia supplies the 7210 handset to rival UK operators Orange and Vodafone as well as T-Mobile. "None of these operators have problems with the handset," he said.

T-Mobile UK has sold "only a very small number" of 7210 handsets, Devereux said. "We just started marketing the products so not too many people are affected."

Devereux could not say if and how customers who have already purchased the 7210 handset will be compensated. For more information, he suggests customers contact Nokia UK on 08700 555 777.