Orange hails success of operator-branded low-cost smartphones

Orange added two new Orange-branded smartphones to its mobile device line-up, and claimed its policy of offering operator-branded devices at more affordable prices is paying dividends in some markets.

Orange Hiro

Orange is launching the Orange Yumo, the second LTE-compatible smartphone in the Orange portfolio, starting in Spain and Romania, and the Orange Hiro in France, Spain, Slovakia and Romania. The operator said the Orange Hiro is one of its most affordable Android smartphones yet.

Orange has been encouraged to launch more Android devices by the strong take-up of previous own-branded low-cost devices such as the Orange Daytona and Orange Nivo.

The operator claims that the Orange Daytona smartphone sold 50 per cent more than all other phones sold by Orange in Spain, whether feature phones or smartphones, outselling all other mobile brands. Furthermore, it said the Orange Nivo was the best-selling smartphone in Romania and drove a significant jump in smartphone adoption in the country.

In Spain, the one-off retail price for the Orange Daytona is listed as €145.20 ($200) while the Orange Hiro is listed at €135.16. The Orange Nivo is no longer listed in Romania, but the Orange San Remo sells for €175, for example.

Orange added that smartphone adoption is growing at Orange Romania, and smartphone sales saw a year on year increase of 101 per cent among Orange customers due in part to the popularity of the Orange San Remo and Orange Nivo.

"Our customers are clearly telling us that they want the best smartphone experience, but that value for money is increasingly important," Yves Maitre, executive vice president of mobile multimedia and devices at Orange, said in a statement. "The popularity of Orange smartphones across our European markets shows that we are delivering phones with great performance and cutting edge features like 4G, combined with the right package of services and the right price."

Orange's low-cost message comes at a time when analysts have been questioning the wisdom of Apple in not having a lower-cost smartphone. The new iPhone 5c is priced only €100 or so below the higher-end iPhone 5s. For example, in France, the iPhone 5c starts at €609 and the 5s at €709. Such prices are considered by many analysts to be too high for the emerging markets that are now being increasingly targeted by Apple.

Nonetheless, new reports from research firms generally show strong smartphone sales across the globe with Apple and Samsung Electronics continuing to dominate. Juniper Research said total smartphone sales reached a record 250 million in the third quarter, with Samsung shipping an estimated 85 million devices and Apple 33.8 million. Indeed, the Apple iPhone accounted for one in seven smartphone shipments in the third quarter.

IDC reported similar figures of 258.4 million smartphones in the third quarter, up by 38.8 per cent year over year. IDC put Huawei in the No. 3 spot worldwide with shipments of 12.5 million.

For more:
- see this Orange release
- see this IDC release (PDF)
- see this Juniper Research release

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