Orange Launches Services Across High-Speed UMTS Network

  • Orange launches first 3G service to UK business customers in July
  • Businesses to benefit from largest integrated 3G network in country
  • SonyEricsson and LG announced as 3G handset vendors for H2 2004
  • 3G launch time-scales announced for other Orange Group countries

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: THURSDAY, 1ST JULY, 2004

London. 1st July 2004. Orange, part of the France Telecom Group, today announced the commercial launch of its first next generation high-speed network, products and tariffs, designed to give its UK customers a "mobile broadband" experience across the largest integrated network in the country.

Orange is developing a range of business services, leveraging the high-speed network, to give companies a faster more productive way to work on the move. The first to market will be the 3G Mobile Office Card. Targeted at Corporate and small business customers, it will be available to buy in the UK from 19th July, complete with a flat rate tariff structure and offering speeds of up to 384 kbps. Already tried and tested by over 35 companies 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 also announced that it will be launching next generation handsets and services to its UK consumer customers later in the year, with Sony Ericsson and LG announced as its first 3G handset vendors.

Orange will be launching its next generation services in France this Autumn (2004). Similar next-generation services will be available from Orange in Switzerland, Romania and Slovakia this year and in the Netherlands and Belgium from next year. Orange will also be taking advantage of its position within the Freemove alliance, giving business customers the ability to access 3G services abroad by the end of 2004. Orange and its Freemove partners have sixteen 3G licences in Europe, more than any other mobile operator.

Sanjiv Ahuja, CEO of the Orange Group, said: "With the launch of our first high-speed network in the UK, 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. As part of that Group, we have delivered fixed-line broadband to business and personal customers for over five years. With the launch of the first Orange next generation network, we are mobilising that broadband experience, delivering world class products, services and networks across Europe to our customers.

He added: "Today brings us a vital step closer to realising the France Telecom group vision for truly integrated communications, which give the customer simple and convenient ways to access the people, places and content they want - using the access technology that best suits their needs."

The Orange 3G Mobile Office Card solution utilises the Merlin U530 Wireless PC Modem Card from Lucent Technologies and Novatel Wireless (NVTL) and an intuitive software interface to offer high-speed, wide area, wireless connectivity on the UMTS network. A range of competitive tariffs will be available in the UK with Orange, the only network to offer flat rate pricing for mobile data. Corporate and small business customers will be able to benefit from Mobile Office Unlimited where the Mobile Office Card will be available for a one-off payment of £99 with a monthly tariff of £45 for unlimited use.

Orange is committed to excellent levels of customer service. Business customers will benefit from the support of a '3G 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. Orange's existing Mobile Office Card customers will be able upgrade to the 3G solution without needing to complete their existing contract.

John Allwood, Executive Vice-President of Orange UK, said: "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."

With 66% of the population covered, Orange will have the most extensive integrated 2.5/3G network in the UK, ensuring that even if customers move out of 3G coverage, they will not lose their connection to the network. At launch, Orange will have 3G coverage in London, Manchester, Edinburgh, Bristol, Belfast, Glasgow, Sheffield, Birmingham, Liverpool, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne and Leeds.

In France, Orange will have almost 30% population coverage on launch, with services available in over 20 cities by the end of the year. Almost 5000 Orange customers in France are already trialing 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.
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NOTES TO EDITORS

Orange and wirefree are trademarks of Orange PCS. The Orange group is one of the world's largest mobile communications companies and a subsidiary of the France Telecom group, with operations in 19 countries across Europe and beyond. It provides a broad range of personal communications services, including Orange GSM1800 services and other digital cellular telephone services. The Orange brand operates in the UK, France, Switzerland, Romania, Denmark, Slovakia, Thailand, the Ivory Coast, the Dominican Republic, Cameroon, the Netherlands, Botswana and Madagascar. The Orange group also has controlled operations in Belgium (Mobistar). The Orange group has a joint controlling interest in Egypt (MobiNil) and minority interests in Portugal (Optimus), Austria (One), and Mumbai/India (BPL Mobile). As at the end of March 2004, Orange was the largest mobile operator in both the UK with 13.8 million active customers, and France with 20.4 million registered customers. As at the end of March 2004, Orange controlled companies had over 50 million customers worldwide. Orange, along with TIM, Telefonica and T-Mobile, is a founding member of the FreeMove alliance. Further information about Orange can be found on the Orange website at www.orange.com. The Merlin U530 is a trademark of Novatel Wireless, Inc.

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