Mobile operator Orange is getting into the fixed-line telephony business and is offering large call discounts to small and medium sized businesses if they sign up for a combined fixed/mobile service.
Orange Landline for Business allows current fixed-line users to transfer existing numbers to Orange, and claims to reduce call costs by an average of 20 per cent.
The operator is promising no minimum call charges, per-second billing and a 10 per cent discount for 10 nominated numbers.
"This is a base camp for Orange as we lead the charge into being a complete service provider," Jason Ellis, head of convergence for Orange's business solutions group, told vnunet.com.
"It is leading from a traditional environment into new services. When the technology matures we will take customers into areas like VoIP as well."
The service is currently limited to companies with two to 250 employees, but this will be increased to 500 employees at a later date.
For customers joining before the end of June calls from Orange landlines to Orange mobile numbers and to Business Circle numbers will be free for the first three months of the contract.
"I think this is all about Orange marking its territory as a full service provider," said Rachel Lashford, an analyst at Canalys.
Mark Blowers, senior research analyst at Butler Group, added: "The mobile market is pretty saturated and Orange is looking around for new revenue opportunities.
"Smaller organisation are looking for a one-stop shop, and the last thing they want is contracts with BT for fixed-line, Orange for mobile etc. Orange has recognised this and needs to provide this kind of service."
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