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:

Online Shopping

An empty shopping cart is seen outside a Best Buy store in Westbury, New York November 28, 2014. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

BestBuy.com back online after second Black Friday outage

Best Buy Co Inc's retail website is back online after it was down for a second time on Black Friday, the busiest U.S. shopping day in terms of sales and traffic since 2005, according to ShopperTrak.  Full Article 

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Gold Imports

Gold Imports

India eases gold import rule in surprise move.  Article 

Indians in Iraq

Indians in Iraq

India says no contact with 39 men held by Islamic State in Iraq.  Full Article 

Sahara Issue

Sahara Issue

Sahara looks to raise $650 million loan to fund bail.  Full Article 

Bhopal Tragedy

Bhopal Tragedy

Bhopal's toxic legacy lives on, 30 years after industrial disaster.  Full Article 

Banking Sector

Banking Sector

After record deal, more India bank takeovers on cards  Full Article 

Islamic Fund

Islamic Fund

India gets new Islamic equity fund but debt market still off-limits  Full Article 

Cricket Tragedy

Cricket Tragedy

Clarke breaks down giving heartfelt Hughes tribute  Full Article 

Nigeria Violence

Nigeria Violence

Bombs, gunfire kill 81 at crowded mosque in Nigeria's Kano  Full Article 

Movie Review

Movie Review

D’Silva's “Ungli” just skims the surface  Full Article | Related Story 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

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