Strong consumer demand for single source cellphone/laptop provider, says Orange

Along with many mobile operators, Orange is looking to dramatically ramp up its portfolio of laptops with embedded 3G SIMs. This shift towards providing WAN connectivity for portable computers is, according to Orange, being driven by consumer demand.

Business users and consumers are apparently wanting a single supplier of both cellphones and wireless laptops to overcome support problems and simplify billing issues.

Francois Mahieu, director of devices with Orange, has indicated that the company is considering offering the same level of customer care packages to those purchasing laptops as its cellphone subscribers already enjoy. "We want Orange to be a one-stop-shop for getting connected. We have found a huge appetite from customers who want to talk to a single provider, and we believe a greater number will be connected at the point of sale in future."

According to Orange, support remains the major difficulty for SMEs that need a single contact point for problem resolution, particularly with connectivity. Mahieu added that the company had also begun to get calls from enterprise customers looking for a similar level of support.

"In the future, all laptops will have some form of embedded wide-area network connectivity," said Mahieu, "but there is still some way to go before this can be achieved. We are at least two years away from everyone in a company being able to use a connected laptop."

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