Orange launches smartphone app for free calls, texts

HELSINKI Thu Nov 22, 2012 4:59pm IST

The logo of France Telecom's unit Orange is seen during a news conference in Paris July 5, 2010. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer/Files

The logo of France Telecom's unit Orange is seen during a news conference in Paris July 5, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Philippe Wojazer/Files

Related Topics

Stocks

   
Inside the Peshawar school

Inside the Peshawar school

The aftermath inside the Pakistan school where at least 132 students and nine staff members were killed by Taliban gunmen.  Pictures 

HELSINKI (Reuters) - Orange, the mobile brand of France Telecom FTE.PA, launched a global free calling and texting application on Thursday, in direct competition with services such as Skype, WhatsApp and Viber.

Telecom operators around the globe have suffered as free calling and texting services have proliferated over the past few years. The apps allow users to communicate without using their voice or text allotments, leading some operators like KPN (KPN.AS) to complain about the hit to their bottom line.

Giles Corbett, who developed the application called 'Libon' for Orange, said telecom operators needed to come up with equivalent services.

"The situation is really simple - either you deliver the most compelling service or your users switch to something else. What's the alternative? We want to be in there," he said in an interview.

The application can be used by any iPhone user for free, while the company charges for some premium features like transcripts of voicemail or email copies of voicemails.

Libon will be available for smartphones using Google's (GOOG.O) Android software in the first quarter of 2013.

Telefonica also launched a similar app, called Tu Me, in May, while Deutsche Telekom has one known as Bobsled.

With other European operators, Orange has also been working on a new technology known as rich communications suite (RCS), which is supposed to update traditional mobile calls by adding chat functions, live video and file sharing across all devices.

The telecoms industry association GSMA has been working on standardising RCS for use across all telecom operators and all handsets.

Orange, Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom, AT&T and China Mobile are working on deploying RCS to their customers.

Orange said it was preparing a launch of RCS, which has been branded 'Joyn' by operators to give it a more consumer-friendly moniker, in June 2013.

(Reporting by Tarmo Virki; Editing by Helen Massy-Beresford)

FILED UNDER:

REUTERS SHOWCASE

26/11 Accused

26/11 Accused

Pakistan to appeal bail for Mumbai attack "mastermind".  Full Article 

Android For cars

Android For cars

Exclusive: Google aiming to go straight into car with next Android – sources.  Full Article 

Mass Stabbing

Mass Stabbing

Eight children killed in Australia in reported mass stabbing.  Full Article 

In Distress

In Distress

Former SpiceJet owner leading rescue plan: reports.  Full Article 

PM's Moves

PM's Moves

Modi moves in to speed up $300 billion stuck projects.  Full Article 

Losing Popularity

Losing Popularity

Dalai Lama's star waning in the West, China official says.  Full Article 

Tis' The Season

Tis' The Season

Stars around the world wish you Happy Holidays.  Video 

Cyber Warfare

Cyber Warfare

For N.Korea's cyber army, long-term target may be telecoms, utility grids.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device   Full Coverage