Orange is the brand used by France Telecom for its mobile network operator hand internet service provider subsidiaries. It is the fifth largest telecom operator in the world, with over 189 million customers as of 2009[update]. The brand was created in 1994 for Hutchison Telecom's UK mobile phone network, which was acquired by France Telecom in August 2000. In 2006, the company's ISP operations, previously wanadoo, were also rebranded Orange. Orange is now the unique commercial façade of almost all France Telecom services. Orange France was incorporated in 2005 and has its headquarters in Arcueil, France.
In April 2006 Orange changed its contract offering by offering four packages to customers, each aimed at different lifestyles and differentiating its offering. Amid much amusement Orange changed the names of its packages to animals: Dolphin, Canary, Racoon and Panther. On some plans there are unlimited minutes (to landlines or Orange UK mobiles), texts or data.
Orange, like other mobile networks, offers an "Internet Everywhere" tariff on pay as you go, pay monthly and business plans. The tariffs names for pay monthly were aligned with the animals theme in May 2010 and Orange now offers both Dolphin and Racoon plans for internet use available on both 1 month and 12 month contracts. In August 2011, the price plans were revised, and names changed to Small, Medium, and Large. Similar to with home broadband, Orange mobile customers receive a £5 discount on their mobile broadband plan. The business plans remained as "Business Everywhere". The 12 month plans come with a USB modem (or dongle) for free. The customer is required to pay a small price for the dongle on the 1 month plans. A portable WiFi dongle can also be purchased, dubbed "Mobile WiFi".
In March 2013, Orange and T-mobile (now merged as EverythingEverywhere) again signalled their intention to increase the agreed tariffs of existing pay monthly customers.Clause 4.3.1 has now changed to disallow the customer from cancelling their contract if "we give you written notice to increase the Charges (as a percentage) by an amount equal to or less than the percentage increase in the All Items Index of Retail Prices or any other statistical measure of inflation published by any government body authorised to publish measures of inflation from time to time, and published on a date as close as reasonably possible before the date on which we send you written notice".
Orange is generally recognised as one of the more up-to-date and forward-thinking networks - they have a strong handset lineup, including a range of Windows phones, and offer enhanced services such as live travel cameras and third genration data services.
They're also good to their Pay As You Go customers, offering lots of free evening and weekend calls and texts for customers that top up regularly.
The pay monthly service gives customers an option of 1, 6, 12, 18 or 24 month contracts. The contracts come 'bundled' with minutes, text messages and within some contracts data and insurance services; additional charges can be incurred for Multimedia Messaging Services (MMS) and Mobile Data services. The 18 and 24 month contracts usually come bundled with a free phone, whereas the 30 day, 6 month and 12 month plans tend to be 'SIM Only' i.e. the customer provides their own phone. SIM Only plans usually have more minutes and texts than their full phone contract equivalent, as there is no phone cost to factor in.
Orange UK operates a GPRS, EDGE, 3G and 4G service and is in the process of rolling out a HSDPA network. Orange's 2G network covers 99% of the UK population and has the largest integrated 3G/2.5G network in the UK, Orange claimed in 2008 it spent up to £1.5 million per day investing in its network. In 2009, Orange UK decided to outsource its mobile network. Therefore, in March 2009, Nokia Siemens Networks was chosen to manage, plan, expand, optimise and provide maintenance services for the Orange UK 2G/3G mobile network for the next five years.
In addition to this Orange UK provides DSL services, under the same brand. Originally operated as Freeserve in the UK it was bought-out by France Telecom, rebranded as Wanadoo and on 1 June 2006 Wanadoo was rebranded Orange. When Orange launched its DSL broadband service it offered it for 'free', joining TalkTalk in the foray for market share.The company has attempted to converge its mobile and DSL broadband products and like its competitors offers DSL broadband services alongside its mobile services, at a subsidized rate (up to £15 off full price per month for Orange mobile customers in an Orange Broadband network area - the prices quoted in Orange publications include these discounts). Orange now offers 'triple-play' services converging mobile, landline and DSL broadband. Orange UK on its highest broadband service used to offer a Livebox which integrates VoIP technology as well as WiFi, but in more recent times, this has router has been replaced by a Netgear router. It has been confirmed that Orange intends to launch a video on demand service through its DSL broadband service.