Orange gets into broadband

France Telecom is gearing up to merge its Wanadoo and Orange brands with a cut-priced broadband offering for mobile users

Mobile network operator Orange is making a move into broadband.

Orange will offer new subscribers a 2Mbps connection from Wanadoo for £9.99 per month, around 50 percent less than most 2Mbps services on the market. Current mobile customers will also be able to get the deal when they renew their contract.

Analyst firm Ovum gave the offer a cautious welcome,

"This is a form of bundling, but customers are still purchasing two separate services with separate charges. However, Orange is offering a discount to customers that sign up for both services. The broadband deal is good value, and customers also receive a VoIP service as a second line, although they are still required to pay the BT line rental," said Ovum's Carrie Pawsey.

Orange is also trying to stimulate demand for its third-generation offerings by cutting the cost of its entry-level 3G service to £12.50 per month for the first six months.

Both Orange and Wanadoo are owned by France Telecom, and this deal marks the early stages of a plan to rebrand Wanadoo as Orange.

The convergence of fixed-line and mobile communications is a hot issue in the telecoms sector at present. BT, which sold off its mobile arm in 2001, is attempting to move back into this space with its BT Fusion product, which works as a home phone or as a mobile.