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RealTime IT News

Orange Launches Orange Internet

[London, ENGLAND] Europe's third largest mobile operator Orange has launched Orange Internet with a range of diary, e-mail, news, messaging, and location-based services.

Richard Brennan, Orange executive vice president, called it a new era in wire-free communications.

"By taking the content of the Web and delivering it to the phone, Orange aims to provide everyone with the information they need whenever, wherever, and however they choose," said Brennan.

A subsidiary of France Telecom, Orange originated in the U.K. but now operates across Europe. It says it aims to have a presence in 50 countries worldwide by 2005.

To obtain the new Internet services, Orange customers will need to register at www.orange.co.uk. After this they can use a WAP enabled mobile device to send and receive e-mail at the fixed WAP rate of 5 pence (US $0.07) for contract customers or 10 pence (US $0.15) for non-contract.

Orange is also offering 30 free text messages a month from a PC to any U.K. digital phone -- not an overly generous offer as other sites such as SMSboy.com have been offering free PC-to-phone text messages to allcomers for several weeks.

A useful Orange Internet service is e-mail alerting -- giving users the option of being alerted when e-mail is received from a particular person or on a specific subject.

News and information content from Orange Internet includes U.K., world and business news from ITN, Ananova and Sky; sports headlines from ITN and the Press Association; weather from ITN; entertainment listings from Flextech; and travel information from RAC, Trafficmaster and Thomas Cook.

Consistently the most popular mobile phone service with users, Orange kicked of the New Year with 10 million customers in the U.K. It offers roaming services on 238 networks in 110 countries.

Orange's unrelentingly cheerful image is proving to be an antidote to dot-com despair -- and whatever the state of the Internet industry in general, the mobile Internet in Europe looks increasingly promising. On Thursday, U.K. retailer Carphone Warehouse reported an 81 percent surge in Christmas sales compared to the previous year.