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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 July, 2004, 09:29 GMT 10:29 UK
Orange 3G gets July launch date
Orange 3G plug-in card
Orange's 3G laptop service is for business users on the move
Orange is to launch third-generation (3G) mobile telecoms services in the UK later this month.

The French-owned firm said its high-speed laptop PC plug-in card, available for business users from 19 July, would have a UK network coverage of 66%.

A 3G service for UK mobile phone users will be introduced in the autumn of this year, it said.

The launch of Orange's mobile office card follows a similar move by larger rival Vodafone in April.


However, John Allwood, the company's UK executive vice-president, denied that Vodafone had stolen a march on Orange with the earlier launch of 3G services for business users.

"I don't think it's catch-up for us, I think it's leapfrog," he told BBC News Online.

Compared with Vodafone, Orange's 3G network will be able to reach more people across the UK, he said.

Vodafone plans to achieve a population coverage of 50% by the end of the year from a start-up level of just 30%, while Orange said it hoped to offer around 80% coverage next year.

Handset deal

Both 3G networks enable customers to move seamlessly back to slower, but more widely available, GPRS services when moving out of high-speed coverage areas.

Orange said its UK business customers would also have access 3G services in Spain, Italy and Germany.

Orange said prices for the plug-in card, which will be able to handle information at speeds of 384 kilobits per second, would start at 10 per month with a one off fee of 170, through to an unlimited-use package at 75 per month with a one-off fee of 85.

Separately, Orange said it had signed deals with mobile phone makers Sony Ericsson and LG to supply it with 3G phone handsets.

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