Orange has conceded that its plans to launch a commercial 3G network by the end of the year could be jeopardised by ongoing technical glitches with the technology. The operator had earlier announced it was launching UMTS in the UK and France to capitalise on the traditional pre-Christmas run-up, but has now backed away after experiencing chronic problems such as dropped calls when moving between 2G and 3G networks, overheating handsets and continuing problems with poor battery life. The news will no doubt be unwelcome to incoming UK supremo Bernard Ghillebaert, who formally takes over the running of the operator from John Allwood at the end of October. Mr Ghillebaert will have the title executive vice president of Orange UK. He inherits a company which is under increasing pressure in the market as a result of lost subscribers and flagging momentum.