Orange launches IT facility cafés

Mobile phone operator Orange is aiming to become a lifestyle-led, one stop communication brand with the launch of a café, Internet, design and video conferencing outlet called Studio.

The flagship Studio opens in New Street, Birmingham, in September and will be replicated across the UK.

Studio will not sell mobile phones and, although branded Orange, it will have a different look to the company’s high street mobile phone shops.

The first Studio will have a caf̩ Рrun by outside caterers Рin the style of the Pret a Manger caf̩s; an Internet caf̩; a staffed design consultancy with computer terminals and printers and a video conferencing facility.

An Orange spokeswoman says some or all of Orange Studio’s elements will be rolled out to other areas of the UK.

Orange envisages users ranging from small businesses which do not have their own graphic design or video conferencing facilities, to students and local people who just want a meeting place or Internet access.

“Orange is a communications company, there is no reason why the company should be locked in to being a shop selling phones. Studio is about using all the services we can offer,” says the spokeswoman.

In October, Orange will launch a free Internet Service Provider (ISP) facility and next year will introduce a videophone combining Internet, e-mail, video and audio access in a palm-held device.

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