Posted on 24-Feb-2004 07:20.
Filed under: News
Orange delivered a 3G strategy update in which it announced commercial trials of the network in the UK and France, the creation of nine 3G Developer Centres across the globe, and confirmed that it is on track to launch full commercial 3G services to customers in France and the UK in the second half of 2004.
Speaking at the Orange press conference in Cannes during the 3GSM World Congress, Thierry Breton, Chairman of Orange and Chairman and CEO of France Telecom, commented, "By announcing the launch of our 3G wireless services in France and the UK later this year, we reaffirm the importance of broadband, both fixed line and mobile, to the France Telecom Group strategy. Thanks to our integrated approach, our customers will benefit from seamless services across our fixed-line, wireless and internet networks."
Orange announced a number of customer trials taking place across Europe and demonstrated its live 3G network in Cannes for the first time. Full commercial launch in both the UK and France is due for the second half of this year.
The Orange France trials, known as 'Villes Orange 3G' are also underway in the cities of Lille and Toulouse, testing the Orange 3G offering with existing Orange customers. A total of 4,000 Orange users are involved in the trials which is evaluating all aspects of the customer's experience including customer services, sales and distribution, devices, services and content as well as pricing and tariffs. For a minimal additional monthly charge, customers have access to a range of services including video calling and unlimited access to multi-media content. The key learnings from the 'Villes Orange 3G' will be used across the Orange Group, complimenting existing trials that are taking place in other markets such as the UK.
Orange also announced the launch of its Orange 3G Developer Centres which will open across the world in 2004. The centres will provide third party developers with the resources to utilise a range of Orange devices and connect to the 3G network in a dedicated laboratory to develop innovative and exciting applications for customers.
The nine Orange 3G Developer Centres will be located in the UK, France, Thailand, the Netherlands, China, Japan and three in the USA. The centres in the UK (Maidenhead), France (Velizy), and Thailand (Bangkok) are ready for developers to use today. The other centres will be launched throughout the year. Orange will also be launching a web-based "Virtual Developer Centre" as an extension to the Orange Developer Programme.
Following a thorough evaluation and tender process during 2003, Orange selected Alcatel, Nokia and Nortel as Orange partners in the deployment of 3G radio access network (RAN) technology infrastructure across the Orange footprint. Orange has been working with Alcatel and Nokia in the United Kingdom and Alcatel, Nokia and Nortel Networks in France to build a robust, interoperable UMTS network infrastructure that will ensure a consistent experience for Orange customers across the Orange footprint.