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

   

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:

Uber Trouble

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Lakhvi's Bail

Lakhvi's Bail

Pakistan court bails man accused of masterminding Mumbai attack.  Full Article 

PM's Moves

PM's Moves

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

Space Programme

Space Programme

ISRO tests its heaviest space launch vehicle, eyes global market.  Full Article 

"PK" in Cinemas

"PK" in Cinemas

Secret of year's "biggest" Bollywood film is its plot.  Full Article 

Priya's Shakti

Priya's Shakti

Rape survivor turns "superhero" in India's first digital comic.  Full Article 

U.S.-Cuba Ties

U.S.-Cuba Ties

U.S., Cuba restore ties after 50 years.  Full Article 

Threat Works

Threat Works

Sony cancels N.Korea movie in apparent win for Pyongyang hackers.  Full Article 

Safety Concerns

Safety Concerns

Uber plans tighter screening for drivers.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

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