Monday, June 05, 2006

Ovum: Farewell Equant and Wanadoo; the future is Orange

Mike Cansfield at Ovum writes about France Telecom's (FT) plan "to concentrate its mobile, business services and Internet operations onto the single Orange brand in the UK," and now "the Equant and Wanadoo brands are no more." Cansfield asks "why select Orange over Equant and Wanadoo?" He then writes:

At one level, the answer is obvious. The Orange brand is better known than the other two, and has always had a certain cache. But it also signals how FT plans to address the market. Orange is a mobile brand, and FT plans to builds out from this base and to attract new business. It reasons there are more opportunities to sell broadband and business services into its consumer and enterprise mobile bases than the other way around.
Cansfield then points out that "the first manifestation of this single brand is the launch today of a combined mobile-broadband offer. If new and existing customers commit to a monthly mobile contract worth £30, Orange will supply them with free broadband (worth £17.99 a month) and a Livebox modem that will also enable customers to make VoIP calls from home. This is an impressive bundle." He concludes with:
This logic is sound enough for the consumer and SME segments of the market, but what about the corporates? Equant is a very well established and respected brand in this segment. Having seen any number of big names depart the field in recent years (Concert, Infonet, GlobalOne, MCI, KPNQwest etc) for a variety of reasons, it could be argued that the segment is used to this. But stability is highly prized in this segment, not only because communications is the lifeblood of corporates, but also because they all remember the near industry meltdown of a few years ago. So changing brands is risky. Time will tell if the future is bright for Orange in this segment.