Orange is targeting the mid range of the market with own-brand Android smartphones at £100 price points.
The network will launch one device with Huawei in June and one device with ZTE in August, across the European footprint. More devices will follow later in 2010, with up to four launching in the UK.
Initially, the handsets will be Orange branded, but they will this year later feature ‘grade A’ manufacturers such as LG, Orange devices chief Patrick Remy told Mobile.
Orange is aiming for 50% of its mobile portfolio to be Smartphones by 2013, with ‘affordable’ smartphones driving that growth. Currently Smartphones make up 15% of the Orange portfolio.
Remy said: ‘We have seen a dramatic growth in smartphones. In 2009, 15% of all devices were smartphones and this will double in 2010 to one third of devices. We expect this figure to grow to 50% by 2013.’
The move is the latest development in Orange’s multimedia strategy, announced in Barcelona in 2009. Remy said: ‘We had noticed that there was only one in ten customers doing that but we thought it had potential for the majority of our customers.
‘We worked on defining segments and matching the devices with the right services and tariffs in 2009 and we were happy with the results.’
During a one year period Orange grew its smartphone customers from 10% to 25% and trebled data traffic, Remy added.
Remy said the operator’s move to reduce smartphone price points to around 120 euros is this is ‘a huge step change’ as it is ‘less than half the typical price of smartphones’.
He added: ‘One of the key elements for success is we have not compromised on the quality. We are working on a handset for the UK – this will launch in summer.’
In the UK, the handsets will be available on contract ‘entry level’ tariffs of around £15. It will then be developed for prepay customers.
They are aimed at a combination of teenagers and customers who would go for a feature phone.
Meanwhile, tech support is ‘a significant part of the multimedia strategy’ and Orange will have the Orange Expert programme for ‘those who are struggling’, said Remy.
Marketing will be defined on a local basis.