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Last Updated: Thursday, 4 May 2006, 15:12 GMT 16:12 UK
Orange plans up to 2,000 job cuts
Woman using a mobile phone
The mobile phone business is getting more competitive
Mobile phone operator Orange is planning to cut between 1,800 and 2,000 UK jobs in a drive to reduce costs.

The French-owned firm said it wanted to reduce its costs by 15% as it adapted to "customer needs in an increasingly competitive environment".

Chief executive Bernard Ghillebaert said that employees "would be treated with dignity and respect consistent with our values".

Full details of where the cuts will fall will be announced in September.

The company plans to integrate its Wanadoo broadband business with the Orange mobile phone operations.

French state-owned telecommunications group France Telecom owns Orange, which has operations in 19 countries worldwide.

The French company took full control of the mobile phone operator two years ago.

The UK landline, mobile phone, and broadband markets are rapidly converging, with companies offering bundled packages and several new entrants challenging the cost structure of the market.

Industry wide

Earlier this year France Telecom said it planned to cut 17,000 jobs worldwide by the end of 2008.

Orange's plans to reduce the workforce, as part of cost cutting measures in a highly competitive industry, are not exceptional.

US telecoms giant AT&T said in March, that it intended to cut 10,000 jobs by 2009, following its planned take-over of BellSouth.

And last November, Telstra, Australia's largest telecom company, said that it had plans to reduce its workforce by as much as 20% by 2010.

In the same month, Germany's Deutsche Telekom said it aimed to shed up to 32,000 jobs over a three year period.

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