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Last Updated: Wednesday, 31 May 2006, 13:04 GMT 14:04 UK
Orange branches out from mobiles
Orange shop
Orange hopes to become a one-stop shop for customers
Orange is launching Europe's first "quadruple play" mobile phone service.

The move means consumers will get just one bill from the company for mobile, landline, internet and TV services.

Orange also said it would be launching a trial for customers to use one handset to cover mobile, fixed-line and voice over internet (Voip) services.

Under the plans, Orange's parent France Telecom will rebrand all its services across Europe under the Orange name over the next 18 months.

Reports suggest the rebranding exercise will cost 160m euros ($205m; 109.5m).

The company also announced it would give free high speed internet access to UK customers spending at least 30 a month on a mobile phone contract, the customer also has to sign up to the deal for at least 18 months.

Changing market

The move comes as the telecoms industry is going through major changes, with companies looking to expand across the various communication platforms.

What we are about is a communications business, not just mobile communications but all our customers' communication needs
Sanjiv Ahuja, Orange

"This is the first time customers can walk in a single store... get on the web simply through one order process, order their mobile, their broadband or fixed line," chief executive Sanjiv Ahuja said.

"What we are offering is something that is easy to use, simple to use and hassle free."

Most companies now recognise that "converged" services across mobile, internet, fixed line and TV are what customers want.

Orange's rivals have been looking to mergers and acquisitions as a means to expand their offerings.

Last month, NTL agreed to buy Virgin Mobile for almost 1bn, aiming to use the brand for all its operations and thus become the first UK firm to provide a four-way offer of cable TV, internet access, fixed line telephony and mobile phone services.

New strategy

But France Telecom said it decided to explore such a strategy two years ago.

It has opted to launch the "quadruple play" offering under the Orange brand, as the name was identified as the most powerful of France Telecom's brands across the 23 countries it operates in.

"What we are about is a communications business, not just mobile communications but all our customers' communication needs whether its voice, information or entertainment," Mr Ahuja added.

To that end the firm will be launching its single handset trial over the next few weeks, he said.

Under the plans, customers will have one handset that can be used for calls over the internet, on a fixed line and as a mobile service.

BT operates a service called BT Fusion which allows people to switch between mobile networks and fixed-lines using a single handset.

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