Mobile Office Card — first 3G product launched across UK in July; FreeMove alliance — roaming in Spain, Italy and Germany at launch; SonyEricsson and LG named as first 3G handset vendors in UK & FR
Orange, the mobile arm of the France Telecom Group, today
announced the launch of its first next generation high-speed network, products and tariffs, designed to take its UK customers toward a mobile broadband experience across the largest integrated network in the country.
At launch on 19 July, Orange will have the most extensive integrated 2.5/3G network in the UK, with 66% of the population covered by its high-speed network, ensuring that even if customers move out of 3G coverage, they will not lose their connection to the network. Orange has 3G coverage in major cities including London, Manchester, Edinburgh, Bristol, Belfast, Glasgow, Sheffield, Birmingham, Liverpool, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Leeds. Orange will also be taking advantage of its position within the FreeMove alliance, giving UK business customers the ability to access 3G services in Spain, Italy and Germany at launch, as well as the 3G network of Orange in France. Orange and its FreeMove partners have licences in 14 markets across Europe.
Orange is developing a range of business services, leveraging the high-speed network, to give companies a faster and more productive way to work on the move. The first of these to market will be the 3G Mobile Office Card in the UK.
Targeted at corporate and small business customers, it will be available to buy in the UK from 19 July, complete with a transparent tariff structure and offering speeds of up to 384 kbps. Already tried and tested by over 60 corporate and medium-sized businesses (over 500 individual users) in the UK, it comes complete with an easy-to-use ?dashboard? interface and will be compatible with the majority of laptop PC?s offering faster access to email, the Internet and intranet services as well as specific sales-force and business critical company information.
Orange will be launching its next generation services in France this Autumn (2004) with coverage available in over 20 cities. Almost 5,000 Orange customers in France are already trialling video calling, video messaging, video
answerphone, fixed-to-mobile video calls, web conferencing and live video services in many cities across France, including Toulouse, Lille, Bordeaux and Cannes.
Sanjiv Ahuja, CEO of the Orange Group, said: "With the launch of our first high-speed network, we've begun to light up our map of Europe. This is a milestone event for our customers, for Orange, and for the entire France Telecom Group. We are now mobilising the broadband experience, delivering world class products and services across our high-speed networks throughout Europe, leveraging the experience we have gained through trials with thousands of
ustomers in the wireless environment, as well as the five years experience theroup has gained providing fixed broadband services."
He added: "Today brings us a vital step closer to realising our vision of a truly integrated communication offering, giving our customers simple and convenient ways to access the people, places and content they want."
The Orange 3G Mobile Office Card solution utilises the Merlin U530 data Wireless PC Modem Card from Lucent Technologies and Novatel Wireless. It offers an intuitive software interface which is used to access high-speed, wide area, wireless connectivity on the UMTS network. A range of competitive tariffs will be available from Orange in the UK, including a flat rate tariff for just £75 per month. The 3G Mobile Office Card is available from £85 (excluding VAT). See
appendix for full tariff details.
Business customers will benefit from the support of a ?3G data card start-up team, who are tasked with ensuring that the 3G Mobile Office Card is correctly activated and configured to work smoothly with a company's own network and security systems. Once up and running, ongoing 24-hour customer support will be available from a new specialist data support team. The Orange 3G Mobile Office Card is the first solution of an extensive range of products and services for
corporate customers which will be launched this year across Europe as part of France Telecom's integrated Business Everywhere offering.
John Allwood, Executive Vice-President of Orange UK, said: "The Orange network in the UK now provides our customers with the most comprehensive integrated 3G coverage in the country, as well as the best value tariffs available and services that can be used in more places than with any other network."
"We began testing our next generation network in Bristol five years ago. Back then, Orange became the first mobile company to make a call across a next-generation network. Now, with half a decade of rigorous testing and
experience behind us, we are launching our new services to customers offering them the most effective, compelling and integrated solution available.
"By focusing on every aspect of the customer's interaction with us, we are setting the industry bench-mark, delivering the best network coverage, the smoothest network handover, transparent pricing, fast access to compelling
services and the most comprehensive after-sales care."
The Orange 3G Mobile Office Card will be compatible with the majority of laptops PC's, providing the flexibility and choice Orange business customers require. Nick Eades, Marketing Director for Fujitsu Siemens Computers Ltd, said: "The
growth of mobile data solutions based on new 3G services is certain to enable competitive advantage for many businesses. Early experiences of our LIFEBOOK range of notebook computers confirms the levels of performance and simplicity of operation from the Orange 3G package which users have been waiting for."
Orange will be launching next generation handsets and services in the UK and France later in the year, with SonyEricsson and LG announced as its first 3G handset vendors.