France Telecom in £10m Net launch agency hunt

Voila.co.uk, the Internet services provider owned by France Telecom, is viewing pitches from agencies for its &£10m creative and media accounts.

The shortlist is believed to include Lowe Lintas. The Voila.co.uk marketing team was understood to be attending pitches as Marketing Week went to press.

France Telecom launched its Internet portal I-Services in France in May. In the UK this is branded as Voila. The service is operational, but awaits a marketing launch.

In France, the Voila name is being used only for a WAP portal available through France Telecom’s mobile phone brand, Itineris.

Voila.co.uk will initially be available only on the Net, providing similar services to its European counterpart and access to the European Voila network.

In the French version, selecting I-Services links users directly to a personal portal page, constructed from links to frequently accessed sites. Diary and e-mail services are also featured. The Voila Mobile portal features a WAP guide listing nearly 200 sites and access to the Voila search engine.

France Telecom recently acquired Orange for &£31bn, a move which is likely to lead to the creation of a &£100m global advertising account (MW June 8).

A spokeswoman for France Telecom says: “Voila may eventually provide its WAP service through a partnership with Orange, but for the time being, the companies are concentrating on integration.”

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