Orange Inks Deal With Cingular For Business Customers

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Orange, the mobile telecommunications arm of France Telecom, Tuesday said it has signed a deal with U.S. mobile operator Cingular Wireless to provide multinational business customers with better international services.

The consolidated service, dubbed ‘Worldview,’ will benefit multinational customers with a presence in Europe and the U.S. who want to improve visibility of mobile usage across their operations, Phillipe Bernard, Executive Vice President of Orange Business Solutions, told Dow Jones Newswires in an interview. The deal means Cingular and Orange customers will have access to centralized reports on mobile usage and expenditure in the U.S. and Europe and will have a single point of contact for sales.

The deal will also offer better value for Cingular users who benefit from volume discounts, as mobile minutes made over Orange’s network will be added to U.S. volumes, Bernard said. Orange customers won’t get the same discount as the promotion is offered by Cingular.

“One of the main challenges facing multinational customers is dealing with multiple suppliers in multiple countries,” Bernard said.

Fabien Gustaffson, director of multinational customer business development at Orange Business Solutions, said the alliance doesn’t contain a revenue share agreement. Instead, each operator will invoice the customer in the relevant territory.

Gustaffson said the deal should drive market share gains for Orange in the business market, where it competes against the likes of O2 and Vodafone Group. “I think that it will boost our progress over the coming months,” he said.

The service, which began trials in August, will initially be offered in the U.K., France, the Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland. Poland, Romania and Slovakia will be added after Christmas. Orange also expects to add Spain in 2006, but declined to provide a specific timeframe.

Orange said it has already signed a customer to the service, but wouldn’t identify the user.

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