Sony Ericsson's new T630 was the top-selling mobile telephone at Telia stores in Sweden during March. There is a continuing strong demand for preconfigured camera phones. Telia has the largest retail store chain in Sweden for telecom products, with 74 sales outlets from Kiruna in the far north to Malmö in the south.

Three out of the five best-selling mobile handsets at Telia stores in March were preconfigured with Telia Go. With Telia Go preconfigured on the phone, subscribers can immediately use different Internet services, such as reading the news, checking the weather, the yellow pages, mobile positioning and other services.

The top ten sales list consists of camera phones and simpler handsets. The intermediate range, comprising mobile phones that are a little more expensive, but without a built-in camera, are no longer among the top ten models. On the whole, sales of mobile handsets in Telia stores have increased 10 percent since February.

"More and more people are choosing a mobile phone with built-in camera. Telia Go's popularity is also holding its own. Buyers want solutions that let them start using different mobile services in a quick and easy way," says Hans Carlsson, marketing manager for Telia's retail stores in Sweden.

Top ten list of mobile phones in March 2004

March (February)    Model    / Other
1      (4)                    Sony Ericsson T630  / Telia Go + camera
2       (New)                Siemens A52  / Refill
3       (2)                    Nokia 3310  / Refill
4       (1)                    Samsung SGH-E700  / Telia Go + camera
5       (5)                    Sony Ericsson Z600  / Telia Go + camera
6       (3)                    Sony Ericsson T230  / Refill + camera
7       (9)                    Nokia 5100  / Refill
8       (8)                    Nokia 3510i  / Refill
9       (7)                    Sony Ericsson T100  / Refill
10     (6)                    Sony Ericsson T68i  / -

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Nokia has become aware of the filing of a class action complaint against Nokia yesterday in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York alleging securities fraud in connection with statements made by Nokia regarding its first quarter results. 
Nokia has reviewed the allegations contained in the complaint and believes that they are without merit.  Nokia intends to defend itself against the complaint vigorously.

Mobileway, the global leader in mobile messaging, marketing, and entertainment, has completed a $23 million Series D round of funding.
The company will use the additional capital to expand into new
territories such as China, dramatically increase its market
penetration in the United States, and launch a range of  compelling new customer applications.

The latest round increases the total capital Mobileway has raised since its inception four years ago to more than $77 million. It will help the company to capitalize on and shape an
unprecedented phase of growth, innovation, and consolidation in the wireless data services market.
    In the Series D round, a new U.S.-based investment partner, Institutional Venture Partners (IVP), joins with existing investors 3i, CDP, Intel, Investcorp, Mayfield, Nexit Ventures, and Visa. Today, the company supplies more than 450 of the world's leading brands with innovative mobile marketing and entertainment solutions, in addition to carrying international SMS and MMS traffic on behalf of more than 70 of the world's mobile carrier networks.
    Janice Roberts, general partner at lead investor Mayfield, said: "Following massive industry growth in Europe and Japan, China now represents a vast market opportunity, while the U.S. -- which has lagged behind the world for the past few years -- is finally waking up. Indeed, IDC forecasts that there will be 31 billion mobile-originated messages in the United States in 2007. The mobile phone is now the third consumer communications platform after the PC and the TV, and it's increasingly replacing the landline as the primary home voice connection."
    Roberts also emphasized the importance of wireless data services for enterprises: "Mobileway is helping some of the world's largest companies make mobile messaging an integral part of their business operations. We are in the midst of a communications revolution and Mobileway, with the backing of an extraordinary group of investors, is poised to reap the benefit of its aggressive, customer-oriented approach."
    Recent additions to the Mobileway global management team and increased investment in the company's technology infrastructure has streamlined the business into two key focus areas: full service mobile marketing and entertainment solutions for brands and media players, and global network services for carriers and content houses. An unrivalled worldwide messaging reach via a network of more than 150
direct connections and access to more than 600 operators, coupled with first class application, database, and content management platforms, gives Mobileway a strong competitive advantage and solid base from which to play a pivotal role in the development of the wireless data market for today and tomorrow.
    Russ Shaw, Mobileway's London-based chief executive officer, commented: "Mobileway's global success allows us to be aggressive in the marketplace -- in terms of both acquisitions and new services -- and we're very pleased by our investors' vote of confidence. We now can begin to build economies of scale and complete our end-to-end suite of complementary solutions, giving us the momentum necessary to pilot this growing marketplace. The winners in our sector will be those companies able to build solutions that are flexible, scalable, and that show a real understanding of a customer's needs and vertical sector requirements. As the market continues to grow, blue-chip brands naturally will look to the emerging sector leaders as favored partners -- and Mobileway will continue to occupy that role."

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What's up, Doc?

Warner Bros. Online and Vodafone have signed a distribution deal which will bring iconic Warner Bros. Entertainment brands as well as current information on upcoming projects to Vodafone live! customers across the world.  The global agreement, covering 16 countries, brings together the world’s largest mobile telecommunications company and one of the world’s largest and most prolific entertainment companies.  Warner Bros. Entertainment is known for such global brands as The Matrix, Harry Potter, Looney Tunes, and Friends, among many more.
"The agreement with Warner Bros. Online places Vodafone at the forefront of mobile entertainment provision," said Graeme Ferguson, Executive Content Services, Vodafone Global Products and Content Services.  "We are focused on delivering the best mobile content customer experience, so that our customers have access to the world’s most exciting entertainment content, wherever they are."

"Vodafone is a great partner and this arrangement underscores how important wireless is to Warner Bros. Studios.  It further increases our ability to promote and create awareness for our vast library of rich entertainment properties as well as to enhance our relationship and better serve our audience," said Jim Noonan, SVP and General Manager, Warner Bros. Online.  "Having our content on Vodafone live! will enable us to package our existing entertainment properties in new compelling and dynamic ways while also helping our sister Warner Bros. Entertainment companies maximize awareness for their upcoming projects."

Initially, Warner Bros. Online will provide Vodafone with Games, Screensavers, Alerts and other mobile applications based on its popular brands.  Vodafone and Warner Bros Online will collaborate on the development of "made for mobile" content, created exclusively for wireless platforms, which will include video content. 

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SMS provider hires country manager

mBlox, the premier service provider of SMS infrastructure, today announced that Hodny Benazzi has joined the mBlox team, as the Country Manager for France. mBlox clients, both in France and internationally, will greatly benefit from Mr. Benazzi's seven years of experience in the mobile and telecom industries.

As Country Manager, Mr Benazzi assumes responsibility for the expansion of mBlox's French operations. He will promote mBlox's comprehensive range of SMS infrastructure services, both within France and internationally. In addition, Hodny will build on mBlox's existing delivery services in France, to further entrench mBlox's position as the premier service provider of mobile messaging infrastructure in Europe and the United States.

Commenting on Mr Benazzi's appointment, Andrew Bud, Executive Chairman of mBlox, said, "We are delighted to welcome Hodny to our expanding international team. With our recent acquisition of Swapcom's SMS operations, mBlox already maintains significant business in France. Under Hodny's leadership we expect business to grow substantially in coming months. His experience in developing partnerships with content providers and operators, and knowledge of the French market, will ensure that we continue to meet our clients' demanding SMS transport and financial settlement needs."

Mr Benazzi added, "I am very excited to be joining the mBlox team. mBlox's global reach and Premium SMS service, in the United States and across Europe, present French companies with tremendous business opportunities. I look forward to leveraging mBlox's capabilities in the French market."

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Ninth Russian network for Swedish operator

 Tele2 AB, the leading alternative pan-European telecommunications company, today announced that it has launched a GSM-network in Kursk, its ninth in Russia under the Tele2 brand.

The population covered by the GSM-license in Kursk is 1.3 million and the region’s mobile penetration is approximately 11%. The network in Kursk was launched using the GSM 1800 standard.

Lars-Johan Jarnheimer, CEO of Tele2 said; “The GSM-launch in Kursk follows on from our successful launches in Irkutsk, Rostov, St Petersburg, Kemerovo, Omsk, Izhevsk, Smolensk and Nizhny Novgorod. The Russian mobile market offers substantial growth potential for Tele2 and our previous launches in Russia show customers appreciate our service offering.”

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Tom von Weymarn was appointed new chairman of TeliaSonera AB at the board meeting today.

Tom von Weymarn was elected to the Board of TeliaSonera AB in 2002. He was previously President and CEO of Oy Rettig Ab and Karl Fazer Ltd. Tom von Weymarn is also Chairman of the Board of Lännen Tehtaat Plc and a member of the boards of Oy Rettig Ab, Oy Telko Ab, CPS Color Group Oy and Hydrios Biotechnology Oy (Ltd.). He is also a member of the advisory boards of Industri Kapital.

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One of the world’s top three mobile phone manufacturers has chosen austriamicrosystems' AS3521 mobile entertainment IC as the basis for the audio section of a new cell phone model with sophisticated music and audio features

The AS3521 is a totally self-contained digital audio system-on-a-chip, fitting easily into the baseband architecture of different GSM/EDGE and CDMA chipsets. By using a serial communication interface the phone's baseband processor issues commands to the mobile music chip, where all digital and analog music processing is handled locally. Thus the baseband processor is free to execute the communication software stack and the user interface, while the AS3521 plays MP3 and AAC-encoded songs out of the mobile phone's music memory.

"Both of the color displays of the clamshell-style phone can be used to navigate the playlist, control music playback and establish the user's preferred sound settings," said Alexander Harrer, senior vice president of austriamicrosystems' communications business. "The music player can be operated even with the phone closed, because the AS3521 supports buttons on the outer shell of the phone, duplicating the music-related keys of the inner keypad."

When the cell phone is connected to a PC via its USB 2.0 full-speed interface, the phone identifies itself as an external storage device in true plug-and-play fashion.

No dedicated drivers or cumbersome installation procedures on the PC are required. The AS3521 controls the phone's USB link and the music Flash memory. It can handle fast music downloads as well as uploads of recorded voice notes, radio programs or photographs.

austriamicrosystems' mobile entertainment chip drives a stereo headset as well as stereo speakers in the phone. It increases the user's listening pleasure by providing 3D enhanced stereo sound. A freely configurable equaliser allows the user to adjust the music to his or her personal taste. MIDI ringtones from a polyphonic source, as well as stereo FM radio programs, can be merged into the audio stream. The AS3521 controls the FM radio via a dedicated serial interface.

austriamicrosystems' mobile music chip has its own internal programmable power management unit making it independent of the phone's main PMU. It also supplies regulated battery power to the FM module.

The AS3521's clean subsystem concept together with a powerful firmware library and software design tool suite enabled the developers to get the entertainment phone to the market within just a few months.

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Fourth largest Russian operator places €30 million order

ZAO SMARTS, the fourth largest mobile provider in Russia, has commissioned Siemens Information and Communication Mobile (Siemens mobile) to deliver telecommunications equipment worth 30 million Euro. The order encompasses delivery, installation, and startup of GSM technology (transmission, reception, and switching systems), microwave systems, and GPRS network elements for the SMARTS subsidiary in central and southwestern Russia.

More than 500,000 mobile telephone subscribers in the urban centers of Yaroslavl, Czeboksary, Ivanovo, and Saransk in the central and east-European part of the country are to profit from the new network technology as of the end of 2004. "The dynamic development of SMARTS proves that regional providers are indeed growing into a weighty force in the Russian mobile telephony market and can definitely hold their own against established players", said Christoph Caselitz, head of the Networks Division at Siemens Information and Communication Mobile in Munich. "We are pleased to be able to contribute to the growth of this company with our mobile technology." The Russian market is one of the most important growth markets for Siemens. "We are the leading provider of mobile infrastructure in the country and want to further reinforce this position in the future", said Caselitz.

"To provide our total of 1.5 million users with mobile networks, we have been relying on Siemens' technical know-how for years”, explains Gennady Kiryushin, director general of SMARTS. "In the coming years, we want to further expand this strategic partnership, in order to strengthen our market position in Russia in the long term."

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Siemens Mobile
Zao Smarts

ActiveMedia and Flytxt power m-vouchering for "Orange Wednesdays" launch

Flytxt, the leading mobile technology provider, today announced that it has chosen ActiveMedia Technology, designers of real time m-voucher authentication technology, as its preferred supplier for the roll out of the first nationwide m-voucher promotion. Flytxt is working with ActiveMedia within the overall ‘Orange Wednesdays’ project– a groundbreaking ‘two-for-one’ ticket promotion delivered to Orange customers’ mobile phones. 

ActiveMedia is supplying real-time m-voucher authentication technology, which will be installed in over 450 cinemas nationwide – almost the entire cinema industry. The m-voucher terminals are part of a broader mobile vouchering application managed by Flytxt. ActiveMedia was chosen as Flytxt’s preferred supplier due to the existing relationship between the two companies, flexibility in delivering redemption solutions and because ActiveMedia’s RAPOS terminals were the most suitable for the ‘Orange Wednesdays’ project. 

Flytxt is providing the overall technical solution for the ‘Orange Wednesdays’ project and has integrated the RAPOS application within the overall backend technology operations.  Flytxt worked with Orange’s marketing and sponsorship team to develop the concept and business case behind ‘Orange Wednesdays’ and has project managed the entire promotion as lead consultant and technology provider.  Orange customers can text to the short code 241 to receive a mobile voucher entitling them to two cinema tickets for the price of one, which can then be redeemed at terminals in cinemas nationwide.

Ramesh Kumar, Managing Director, ActiveMedia Technology added: “This is a really exciting project for us.  We’ve conducted many similar campaigns since our launch in 2001, but an initiative of this magnitude represents a powerful endorsement of the potential for m-voucher technology.  Working with Flytxt, our RAPOS offering makes operations flexible and seamless, ensuring Orange can target its customers with a totally unique offering.  We look forward to developing our relationship with Flytxt for the benefit of Orange and other customers in the future.”

“ActiveMedia’s experience in the deployment of mobile coupons, tickets and m-CRM solutions led us to choose them for the ‘Orange Wednesdays’ project.” said Flytxt Chairman, Lars Becker. “Our solution will deliver m-vouchering capability to Orange and its customers across the UK for the next three years, and this length of contract is testament to the flexibility and scalability of our offering.”

‘Orange Wednesdays’ is part of a broader campaign for the mobile operator to strengthen its links with the UK film industry and to deliver exclusive products or services that will benefit its customers. Orange has sponsored the British Academy Film Awards since 1998 and became the title owner in 2000.  Orange has also sponsored the highest profile strand of the BFI London Film Festival for the last two years.

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The network, covering Europe's third largest country, will be the
world's largest shared TETRA public safety network.

A consortium, led by Saab and including Nokia and Swedia, has won a contract from the Swedish government to build a professional mobile radio network for the shared use of all Swedish public safety organizations. The consortium will provide and operate a single nationwide TETRA-based network that will replace the large number of separate systems currently in use by the Swedish authorities.

The Swedish government has allocated some 250 million euros for the for the "Radio communication for effective public safety" project (known by its Swedish acronym RAKEL).  Nokia will provide its complete TETRA system, while Saab AB will carry out system integration and Swedia Networks will provide operation and system maintenance.

Nokia TETRA System will provide uniform and seamless network-wide services as well as uncompromised security.  The network will have nationwide coverage, and it will be implemented in phases during 2004-2009 starting in southern Sweden, followed by the Stockholm and Gothenburg regions.

"The Swedish authority network will be the largest shared TETRA network in the world in terms of geography, and winning this deal has decidedly been a major achievement for the consortium," says Matti Peltola, Vice President, Professional Mobile Radio, Networks, Nokia.
"We are confident that our Nordic consortium is also the best choice for the citizens of Sweden.  The Nokia TETRA system will enable seamless communication between the Swedish authorities, and help them in their great responsibility to the Swedish people."

Deliveries of the Nokia TETRA system, including digital TETRA
exchanges, TETRA base stations, network management system, and dispatcher workstations will begin during 2004.

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Nokia Tetra

Device flaws and poor customer service highlight testing and support needs

Intuwave, the mobile software specialist, has conducted focus groups of business Smartphone users that highlighted concern with Smartphone quality and customer service. These findings follow quantitative research published by Intuwave in February, 2004 that showed that only 40% of IT managers had confidence in Smartphones as a business tool. Results point to core ‘hygiene’ factors not being addressed by device manufacturers and mobile network operators which are hitting the industry’s bottom line through increased product returns, lower service adoption and increased support costs.

Andrew Wyatt, vice president of strategic marketing at Intuwave, said, “These are not just ‘nice to haves’: inadequately tested devices lead to product returns or - worst case scenario - product recalls that are costly and embarrassing while poorly set up phones are a key reason why operator support costs are set to escalate. Smartphones are growing in complexity and taking on many of the functions traditionally associated with the PC, so the industry needs a way of applying mature, automated testing procedures and the remote ‘diagnose and fix’ tools associated with the PC world to mobile devices. If this isn’t achieved, then the entire industry will simply haemorrhage money as Smartphones are adopted in greater numbers."

Key problems encountered by members of the focus group included core data services - such as MMS - not working properly, the complexity of setting up services and poor quality of support. One HR manager commented, “Feedback has been mixed; as a tool Smartphones are very useful but the set up has caused more than a few headaches." This is not the response that the industry needs if its plans to increase business usage of the advanced data service functionality offered by Smartphones are to be realised.

Wyatt continued, “Business users are a mobile operators’ most profitable and least price-sensitive market segment and a logical consumer of the advanced data services that are now available. However, if services don’t work out of the box as they should then people simply won’t use them. Addressing testing and customer and service issues will therefore not only cut costs but increase revenues.”

Profile one: Suzy, 25, PR manager in the IT industry; Smartphone - Nokia 6600: "When I got my new Smartphone I wanted to use MMS immediately, but it required four calls to my operator to set up GPRS properly. Even then, whilst I could send MMS messages, my handset couldn't receive them. After several calls to my operator, and a visit to the local retail store, I gave up and exchanged my device for a new one only to find the MMS functionality still wasn't working properly! In the end, someone from my operator's customer support centre had to contact the device manufacturer and track my messages through the network. Then one day, with no explanation, I got 17 MMS messages in one go - all the pictures my friends and colleagues had been trying to send me over the past few weeks. MMS works fine now, but at one point I nearly threw my phone out of the window in frustration - I don’t even want to begin to get email working on my phone if I have to go through all that again!"

Profile two: Andrew, 45, marketing director in the IT industry; Smartphone - Orange SPV200: “Following the ban on using a mobile when driving, I actually bought a Smartphone as a consequence of upgrading to a Bluetooth phone that would let me use a Bluetooth headset. Overall my expectations have been exceeded primarily because it's great to be able to connect to the Internet whenever I want through the browser on my phone. I make frequent use of online train time tables when travelling as well as showing my friends in the pub where I'd been on holiday by going to a webcam of the area! However, it has not been so straightforward - it took the customer services nearly a month to diagnose a problem I had with my original phone's contact function, and in the end I just got another handset and £10 refund. My feeling is that it is first and foremost still a telephone, and needs to be as reliable as a phone. While I can imagine living without a PDA, I certainly can't live without a phone!"

Profile three: Liz, 42, HR manager in the IT industry: "With the increasing need for employees to work from home and whilst on the move providing my staff with mobile devices is a must. We have already deployed devices throughout the company but Smartphones are definitely beginning to creep in - having text, voice, email and internet access all on one device is much easier to handle for all parties involved. A few employees are using the Nokia 6600 as a test and there have been a few problems. Quite rightly, the operators won't give them the right to deploy MMS etc without the company's consent but I have wasted time as a go-between. Feedback has been mixed; as a tool Smartphones are very useful but the set up has caused more than a few headaches."

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Emerging broadband wireless access technologies such as WiMAX and 802.20 will blur divisions between fixed and mobile broadband services. Future BWA providers will be able to offer a single subscription including broadband access in the home and high speed mobile data services on the move, according to a new report from wireless experts Senza-Fili Consulting and BWCS.

WiFi, WiMAX and 802.20: The Disruptive Potential of Wireless Broadband  concludes that new 802-based BWA technologies have the potential to create new broadband services that transcend existing business models for DSL, cable and 3G. While this vision is at least five years away, report author Monica Paolini warns that service providers need to start positioning themselves today to take advantage of it.

She said: “While there is still some work to do on standards and interoperability, there is growing vendor momentum behind BWA technologies and WiMAX in particular. Service providers need to start making decisions now about technologies and market strategies so they are ready to ride the BWA wave when products become available.”

Technologies such as 802.16 and 802.20 offer the potential to deliver both fully mobile broadband internet access (at speeds of up to 250kph) and fixed broadband services. These could be offered over the same infrastructure as separate services or as a combined broadband subscription. Paolini said: “Wireless broadband services that combine fixed and mobile access will be tied to the subscriber, rather than a location (home or office), with the subscriber free to use service anywhere within the coverage area.”

While the mobile variants of 802-based BWA have the most disruptive potential, the first WiMAX products to appear will be designed for portability only. Based on the soon-to-be-ratified 802.16RevD standard, these will be designed for delivering broadband access to homes, offices and public WiFi hotspots. Service providers in the US, UK and South Korea are already carrying out trials of pre-WiMAX and pre-802.20 technologies for delivering broadband services in rural and metropolitan areas. 

Paolini said: “BWA has had a few false dawns already but this time round we have more robust, cheaper technologies and standards-based contenders like WiMAX which have broad industry support. This threatens to have a huge impact on the economics and market potential of BWA services.”

The new study forecasts that there will be 10 million BWA subscribers in the US alone by 2008. Of these the majority (49%) will be mobile business users.

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Sanjiv Ahuja takes over ceo job

Orange SA today announces that Sol Trujillo is stepping down as Chief Executive Officer. The Orange Board of Directors, meeting today in Paris, agreed to adopt the recommendation of the Orange Nominations Committee in appointing Sanjiv Ahuja, currently Orange COO, as Sol Trujillo's successor.

Over the past year Sol has overseen successfully, and ahead of schedule, the implementation of a major programme of organisational and management change across the Orange group. During this same period Orange has delivered ahead of its financial commitments. Sol is now returning to the United States where he will pursue a range of business interests. Sol will be maintaining his links with the Group as a special adviser to Thierry Breton, Chairman of France Telecom SA and Orange.

The nomination of Sanjiv Ahuja as Orange CEO is one of a number of senior appointments announced today at the highest operational level of the France Telecom Group. These changes to the France Telecom Group's organisational structure and the Group's Executive Committee are the subject of a separate communication that can be accessed on the Group's website

France Telecom Chairman, Thierry Breton said: ''Sol has done an outstanding job at Orange, implementing with great effectiveness a common strategic vision and identifying a successor in Sanjiv who is perfectly equipped to guide the business into the future. Sol has moved Orange from the federation of companies that resulted from years of rapid expansion to the unified organisation we have today. The team he assembled has taken the Orange brand and vision to the next level, creating a stronger business that is more focused on its customers, clearer in its thinking and more efficient in delivering results.

''I would personally like to take this opportunity to thank Sol for all he has done for Orange and all our shareholders. I look forward to benefiting from his continued counsel from his position as a special adviser to the Group.''

Since his appointment in February 2003, Sol Trujillo and his team have overseen a major transformation in the organisation, operations and the financial results of Orange. Some highlights of this period include:

- Building a truly international and experienced senior management team capable of leading and driving the business forward;

- The definition of a new Orange Group strategy with the objective of creating 'One Orange', improving its management and operational structures and reintegrating the Company within France Telecom, all the time focusing Orange on a predominantly European footprint and establishing new financial targets;

- The strengthening of the Orange leadership position and an increase in average revenue per user in the company's core markets in the UK and France. This has also seen a total customer increase of 10.8% during 2003 to 49.1million

- An increase in overall revenues of 9% to EUR 17.9 billion and a 32% increase in EBITDA to EUR 6.2 billion in 2003 on a pro forma basis.

These achievements have contributed in differentiating Orange in the marketplace and have been instrumental in delivering an exceptional financial performance.

Sol Trujillo said: ''This has been a period of challenge, of achievement and one that I have enjoyed to the full. I am proud that we have been able to bring together a team that is making a great business stronger, giving it the structures and organisation it lacked, injecting new blood and providing renewed purpose and direction. Having achieved the goals we set with Thierry when I joined as CEO, the moment has come to pass the baton to Sanjiv who will now lead Orange to what I'm sure will be new levels of success.''

A key element of Sol Trujillo's mission while reorganising the business, delivering results and revitalising the brand has been to ensure the development of leadership and continuity. This is evidenced by the selection of his successor and the establishment of a management structure to facilitate a close working relationship between Orange and the rest of the France Telecom Group.

Sanjiv Ahuja will be joined on the France Telecom Executive Committee by John Allwood, Head of Orange UK operations and Didier Quillot, Head of Orange France operations. Didier will have responsibility for branding and marketing for the entire Group.

Following his appointment Sanjiv Ahuja, the new Orange CEO, commented: ''Our appreciation goes to Sol for drawing together the team that has brought Orange into the 21st century. He also has my personal thanks for the role he has played as coach and mentor during the many years we have known one another.

''Over the past year Orange has grown up as a business. Fresh ideas are now supported by the processes and disciplines required as we move Orange successfully to the next stage of its growth. I am excited by the opportunity we now have together with France Telecom to build the world's foremost integrated telecommunications service provider.

''Just as Orange defined the first age of mobile telephony, it is Orange again that is moving to roll back the frontiers of next generation personal communications. Our people are back concentrating on what they do best; taking the latest technology and making it simple, making it personal and making it relevant to each and every one of our customers".

As previously announced, following the conclusion of France Telecom's Offer to Orange minorities expected to occur in April, Orange will retain its own Board and will continue the development of its stated strategy and brand identity.

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