back to article Call me maybe: Orange loses a segment as competition bites

Former French monopoly mobile operator Orange has reported that its earnings and revenue are both down, despite increased customer numbers, as price-cutting hits the bottom line. Orange, the operator formally known as France Telecom, has customers around Europe and Africa, but not in the UK where it remains part owner of …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Orange and the rest of the network providers need to start thinking of themselves as an ISP. The glory days of voice and 10p a text message are long gone! The question is will they be able to transition to it?

  2. Arachnoid

    Well considering........

    EE prices in the UK seem considerably higher on 4G for lesser services than provided by Orange which seems the same company in all but name to me, on 3G would indicate a drift of customers away to those servers who are going to provide 4G for considerably less if not a free extra.

  3. TheProf

    The difficult second paragraph

    I can't make any sense out of the second paragraph. Help!

  4. Arachnoid

    Second paragraph

    In other words France needs some blue pills to help its performance

  5. Ebaneezer Wanktrollop

    I'm not an Elmer - help me!

    'European customers are, eventually, going to have to get used to paying US prices for their mobile data'

    So what is that price????? Jeez, half a story...........

    1. Stacy

      Re: I'm not an Elmer - help me!

      Looking at a couple of providers I found searching for US Data Cellular Plan they are *OUCH* expensive.

      $20/month for 300mb data + $30+ for the mobile contract.

      If it comes to that my phone will be WiFi only for data and emergency only for calls. Like it was in '94 when I got my first phone (OK, that wasn't WiFi for data ;p)

      I pay 26 euros a month for 1.5GB @ 4G speed with 200 minutes of calls. I am not going to pay double that for 1/5 the data!

      1. Compact101

        Re: I'm not an Elmer - help me!

        A question on the 4G

        Do you often use it where you don't have Wifi and is it actually worth it over 3G, i.e. you really use your 4G and life without would be like being on Dial-up Modem.

        I'm on a 300 mins, 300 txt, unlimited data £8.50+VAT plan.

        Never use my mins, txt or that much data, as most of the data is FB, Maps, WhatsApp and a bit of web, with anything heavy normally coinciding with being when I'm near a free wifi at home, work coffee shop etc.

      2. John Hughes

        Re: I'm not an Elmer - help me!

        The claim in the article is crazy. If Orange tried to get people to pay like that for data Free would slaughter them.

        Their 2 EUR/month contract has a 0,99EUR data option - 20 megabytes and 0,05EUR/extra megabyte,

        So that's 17EUR for your 300MB (2 hours phone calls, unlimited SMS included, and unlimited use of Free's WIFI network)

        Their 20 EUR/month contract gives you up to 3 Gigabytes, with EDGE speeds over that. And unlimited calls in France, unlimited calls to EU landlines, and unlimited calls to the US, unlimited use of Free's Wifi network.

        1. Stacy

          Re: I'm not an Elmer - help me!

          Wow, that Orange subscription is better than any I can get in Holland!

          As for the 4G question, I'm afraid I can't answer yet - the contract starts at the end of this month :)

          But you are right, mostly I use WiFi - but if it's available I will certainly try!

          I got the subscription as it should work out much cheaper than my current subscription... My current subscription is not cheap for international calls, and as an expat it's useful to be able to call the UK from time to time without remortgaging the house ;P

  6. dervheid

    It says EE on my phone

    although the bills still say Orange.

    can't say I'm surprised they're suffering (he he he) but if their 3G/GSM signal is as woeful there as it is in my area...

    Not to mention their crappy customer service.

    1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

      Re: It says EE on my phone

      I think it is that when Orange and T-Mobile merged, they spun off the business of operating the infrastructure to a separate legal entity that is EE. Orange and T-Mobile manage the customers, and 'rent' access to the infrastructure from EE.

      It is not clear to me whether Orange/T-Mobile own EE, whether EE is now also a holding company with Orange and T-Mobile as subsidiaries, or whether they are completely separate companies.

      I'm sure that it makes sense to somebody, but I'll bet there's some international shenanigans about where the profit is declared!

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Had it too comfortable too long

    Arent they supposed to be dumb pipes ? (by any other name?)

    That applies to all mobile operators. RIp off charges are still the norm.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "Orange, the operator formally known as France Telecom, has customers around Europe and Africa, but not in the UK where it remains part owner of independent subsidiary EE,"

    Is it me, or does that make absolutely no sense..

    1. JulianB

      Re: Ummm

      It makes grammatical sense:

      * Orange was known as France Telecom.

      * Orange has customers in Europe and Africa.

      * Orange has no customers in the UK.

      * Orange remains part owner of EE in the UK.

      "Remains" is a strange choice of word, appearing to imply that it was formerly part-owner of EE outside the UK, but is so no longer.

      1. Joe Harrison

        Re: Ummm

        I am an Orange customer and I am in the UK. This is only because I never cancelled my historic OVP Virgin account though and I'm hardly a regular user except if I want to go the cinema on a Wednesday.

        Back in the 1990s when Hans Snook was at the helm of Orange it was all very very different. Orange was formed because people were bored with the Voda/Cellnet duopoly and Orange were seriously exciting in comparison. Orange were first to introduce SMS, first with caller ID, and Orange geeks ran a high traffic mailing list. Eventually Hans left and their decline into boringness was signalled by introduction of a 10p charge for SMS, something which hit the geek community particularly hard and left them feeling massively betrayed.

        Now of course all people want is a cheap pipe to the internet, something which my O2 PAYG unlimited data for £7.50/month does fulfil admirably.

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: Ummm

          >Back in the 1990s when Hans Snook was at the helm of Orange it was all very very different.

          Orange were the first pure play digital mobile network operator, they had no analogue legacy unlike Vodafone and Cellnet.

          Three being the first pure play 3G operator, had an opportunity to do similar, but hasn't managed to garner the same levels of customer satisfaction and commitment to the brand as Orange achieved.

          1. paulf

            Re: Ummm

            @ Joe Harrison - Yes I have my old Orange number on OVP Virgin Tariff. Despite removing the free Voicemail calls earlier this year its still a great way to keep a second number going for very little - no daily line rental charge just pay for calls but with the convenience of contract rather than topping up a PAYG and keeping it alive once every 90 days. All I need to do is one chargeable event every 12 months to keep the Direct Debit alive so I don't have to call their Customer Disservice to set it up again.


            >Orange were the first pure play digital mobile network operator, they had no analogue legacy unlike

            > Vodafone and Cellnet.

            Not quite correct. They were purely digital but Mercury launched One 2 One before Orange launched (by about 9-12 months). One2One had low awareness as they had wanted to build up the service slowly and profitably hence starting with M25 area plus Brum and motorways between. Orange launched in 1994 (the result of a pre-launch merger of two of the three operators licensed in the DCS 1800 band, returning one 25MHz pair to the Gubbermint as a result) and were ridiculed in the early days as being the straggler but suddenly went into overdrive with their network roll out quickly leaving 121 behind. 121 then had to pull their finger out to catch up on network coverage which remained a millstone around their neck for some years after.

            As an aside some very early 121 SIMs offered free calls within M25 for life. They went on to change hands for £thousands in some cases.


            1. Roland6 Silver badge

              Re: Ummm

              I remembered the One-2-One brand just after I posted and decided to let it drop, because I remember One-2-One being about in the late 1980's (we recruited an marketing professional in circa 1987 who had worked for them), so assumed that they initially had an analogue network of some description and hence their billing system and initial service offering had inherited analogue characteristics (charge for call set up and per minute/fractional minute charging, rather than straight per second billing).

  9. PaulR79

    Poor Orange

    I find myself still not caring. Why can't all networks, mobile or internet, accept that they are there to provide a set service and stop trying to branch out to offer tons of things? For example, I don't see electric companies trying to sell me a Lovefilm subscription. If you're good at something then stic..... ahhh now I see the problem. Carry on.

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