Orange plays down concerns over low 2.5G take-up

9 Jan 2003

Orange [Paris: 7919.PA] has conceded that its new 2.5G SPV (sound, picture, video) service, launched at the end of October 2002, has attracted only 25,000 to 30,000 users – well short of the 380,000 registrations Vodafone [NYSE: VOD] claims for its rival Live! product, which launched at the same date. Despite the apparent poor performance, the company was quick to play down the disparity in sales, pointing out that the two products are not entirely compatible, making direct comparisons irrelevant. A spokesman for Orange said that whilst its SPV phone is ‘a hardcore multimedia phone for sophisticated data users, in particular business users’, Vodafone’s option is ‘a different thing’ entirely. Orange SPV offers full access to the world wide web, whereas Vodafone has taken a more simplified ‘walled garden’ approach in a bid to target consumers. He went on to say that the company was pleased with the progress of the SPV service which had ‘more than matched expectations’ despite the fact that pre-Christmas sales in Denmark and Switzerland were effectively capped due to a shortage in handsets.