Orange targets data growth with low-cost smartphone

Having seen huge growth in its mobile data traffic, Orange is looking to further boost this by increasing its line-up of smartphones to 50 per cent of its handset portfolio--up from just 15 per cent today.

The company, which grew its smartphone subscriber base last year from 10 per cent to 25 per cent and trebled data traffic, said it intended to dramatically increase the number of users by launching affordable Android-powered smartphones. The target, according to Orange Devices chief Patrick Remy, is that 50 per cent of Orange users will have smartphones by 2013.

Remy said that the key to maximising the potential of this growth was developing products at the lower end of the smartphone market that provided genuine appeal for those who would normally opt for a feature phone for cost reasons.

Remy said that the company planned to reduce the price of smartphones to around €120, which would be less than half the typical price of these devices. "We're really targeting the entry-level pay monthly contract customers," Remy said. "One of the key elements for success is we have not compromised on the quality."

The company has already tested this strategy with the launch of its Orange Boston smartphone in Spain, where first-time Orange customers can pick one up for as little as €59. The Boston runs Android version 1.6, and features a 3.2in touchscreen together with Wi-Fi and GPS, a 5-megapixel camera, 3.5mm headphone jack and microSD card slot.

The company has confirmed that it will launch one device with Huawei in June and one device with ZTE in August, across its European operations. Initially, the handsets will be Orange branded, but will include later this year mainline manufacturers such as LG, said Remy.

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