Orange France increases LTE footprint, embraces OTT services

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Orange France said it will extend its LTE network to Lyon, Lille and Nantes this week, bringing the total cities covered in France to four after launching LTE services in Marseille in June.

According to a report in Total Telecom, the French operator also said it will cover 60 percent of the French population with HSPA+ by year-end, in addition to having LTE in the four aforementioned cities.

Orange said the first LTE offering will be marketed to corporate customers starting Nov. 22 and to consumers beginning in February 2013. This will represent the first LTE offering in France, with SFR and Bouygues Telecom set to follow suit in the coming year.

The latest LTE developments were unveiled at an event in Paris, where Orange also showcased further services that it hopes will set it apart from its rivals when it comes to mobile innovations. Clearly embracing over-the-top (OTT) services, Orange said it would launch joyn – the communications app based on the Rich Communication Suite (RCS) – in France, Belgium, Poland, Romania and Slovakia in 2013; the app is already available in Spain.

In addition, the operator unveiled a new web-based messaging app called LibOn, which will enable users to make high-definition phone calls, chat, and create personalised welcome messages from a mobile application. The app is now available for iOS and will be launched for Android at the beginning of 2013.

Finally, Orange announced a partnership with Facebook to introduce more communication tools into social networks, with a first public teleconference service coming in summer 2013. According to TechCrunch, the service means users will be able to call each other and make "group calls" without the need to know individual mobile numbers.

For more:
- see this Total Telecom article
- see this Orange press release
- see this TechCrunch article

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