Orange launches service overhaul to woo customers from fixed lines

Mobile phone operator Orange has announced an overhaul of its network, services and pricing strategy which it hopes will pave the way for the introduction of personalised billing and packages for each customer.

The move comes just a month after rival Cellnet announced its “first” initiative, a repackaging of its services with value guarantees.

Orange believes mobile phone use in the UK will affect over 50 per cent of the population by the year 2004 – it currently stands at 15 per cent.

The company has a 14 per cent share of the market which hopes to build through a series of initiat ives over the coming 18 months

Off-peak rates will be standardised to 5p from July – they currently vary from 6p to 12.5p. Daily Talk, 20 minutes of off-peak calls for 50p, will be introduced to entice first time users.

Customers will be able to choose a competitor’s tariff to use in conjunction with the Orange phone and network and “Wildfire”, a personal assistant service, will be launched by the end of the year.

From July, customers will be credited with one minute’s talk time on their bill if the Orange network drops a call. Video phones, mobile banking, shopping, satellite and Internet and intranet services will also become available.

Orange group managing director Hans Snook says: “Our goal is that people in the future will not need a fixed line phone and that Orange will keep on setting the standards that others can only follow.”

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