Will Orange soon be Google's favorite color?
France Telecom Group’s “Orange” mobile telephony division is in discussions with Google about a prospective “branded Google phone,” according to Guardian reports:
"Manufactured by HTC, a Taiwanese firm specialising in smart phones and Personal Data Assistants, it might have a screen similar to a video iPod. It would have built-in Google software (for) surfing the web from a mobile handset…The companies believe that they have an affinity as brands that are perceived as both 'positive' and 'innovative'.
France-Telecom does appear to share Google’s worldwide growth ambitions. It touts:
The group is even more effective to accompany its clients of all sizes, in all countries, on the road to IP convergence and their integration in the information system.
France-Telecom on its 2005 year of “innovation for Orange and broadband”:
The aim is to become the benchmark brand for tomorrow's world of mobile telephony.
Orange is one of the world leaders for mobile telephony. Driven by the adoption of the Orange brand in Poland, the buyout of Amena in Spain, as well as the performance of the numerous subsidiaries, the mobile business now accounts for 50% of France Telecom's sales.
3G kicks off
Launched in 2004, Orange UK and Orange France 3G services took off during the year 2005. By December 31, 2005, the two subsidiaries respectively accounted for more than 306,000 3G customers in the United Kingdom and more than 1 million broadband customers in France (EDGE and 3G).
In September, Orange Switzerland opened its 3G network in 14 cities.
84.3 million mobile customers at December 31, 2005
56% of mobile broadband owners in France use television and video services.
The Group seeks to serve more than 12 million mobile broadband customers in 2008, including more than 6 million in France and more than 5 million in the United Kingdom.
In July, France Telecom acquired nearly 80% of Amena, the 3rd ranked mobile operator in Spain holding 24% of the market, for 6.4 billion euros. This buyout enabled 10.3 million Amena customers to join the Group by the end of 2005.
More than 1.5 million broadband service subscribers at December 31, 2005
Google CEO Eric Schmidt has recently called for free mobile phones:
As mobile phones become more like handheld computers and consumers spend as much as eight to 10 hours a day talking, texting and using the Web on these devices, advertising becomes a viable form of subsidy.
‘Your mobile phone should be free. It just makes sense that subsidies should increase.’
Larry Page - Co-Founder and President of Products, focused on Google’s mobile strategy in its Q2 earnings call:
We are bringing more of our products to mobile phone users. Since there are at least twice as many mobile phones than PCs in use globally, and mobile usage is growing faster than PCs, we want to make Google available in a device-independent way.
Mobile phone users can now access Gmail, news and a personalized homepage in French, Italian, German and more. We launched Maps for mobile in several additional countries, and we are creating more opportunities for advertisers to reach users through mobile devices.
We launched mobile ads in Japan in April, and the early results are very positive. We expect to roll out mobile ads in additional countries later this year.
How about next year? Mobile ads on FREE Google (orange) Phones?