Telecom Lead Team: France Telecom SA has announced that its
Orange unit will launch a smartphone in France and the United Kingdom this
summer designed by Intel and using its newest processor.
Both companies will also showcase the phone at the
ongoing Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The Orange-branded device is
designed by Intel and runs on Google Inc.’s Android software.
The phone is aimed at Orange’s entry level, pay-as-you-go
clients. The phone is a copy of a reference handset Intel created to showcase
its newest mobile chip to potential customers, with features like
high-definition video and an 8-megapixel camera.
The device will carry the Intel Inside” label. Orange,
the first mobile operator to use Intel chips for phones, is getting an
exclusive, according to the chipmaker.
Earlier, Intel had announced in January Motorola Mobility
and Lenovo will start using its processors in smartphones this year. Also,
Intel previously announced deals with Nokia Oyj and LG Electronics Inc. that
didn’t result in phones going on sale.
France Telecom, that nation’s largest phone company, said
it wants a high performing phone under its Orange brand to encourage more use
of mobile Internet services.
The phone will be offered at a price that appeals to
those who can afford entry-level phone plans, helping the Paris-based company
target the 50 percent of its customer base that don’t use a smartphone. Pricing
and the name of the device will be announced when it goes on sale,” said
Patrick Remy, vice president of devices for France Telecom’s Orange business.
Orange is aiming to increase the portion of phones it
sells that carry its brand. Orange sells handsets manufactured by ZTE, Huawei
Technologies, Alcatel-Lucent and Gigabyte Technology.
In another development,
France Telecom is likely to spend about $2 billion to buy stake in their
Egyptian wireless venture.
France Telecom has reached a preliminary agreement with
Sawiris’s Orascom Telecom Media & Technology Holding over Egyptian Co. for
mobile services, the operator known as Mobinil, at 202.5 Egyptian pounds
($33.54) a share.