Orange tweaks network for iPhone


Orange has discussed some detail of the logistical operation it has embarked upon to prepare for the arrival of the Apple iPhone 3G and 3G S in the UK, expected from mid-November.

“We have been really busy getting ready for this,” said UK vice president of sales and loyalty Guillaume van Gaver.

“From a technical point of view, we have got a great 3G network to launch this device on. Ofcom has stated our coverage – 93 per cent of the population – is the best. And we have been investing and working also to optimise the network specifically for the iPhone.”

Van Gaver explained Apple iPhone applications require “short, sharp bursts” of data usage, unlike the kind of web browsing most other mobile phones have traditionally been utilised for, which require a sustained data stream. Orange has worked to make its network run better for these bursts of data traffic, he said.

“The iPhone drives stronger usage and uptake of multimedia services and we need the network to be ready for this; to ensure UK customers get a great experience.”

He said its UK team has also been consulting with group companies in France, Belgium, Switzerland and Austria, among its 28 existing operations with rights to the iPhone, to get a better understanding of the technical requirements of the device from a network point of view.

“Clearly, we have organised exchanges between our UK and international technical teams,” said van Gaver.

Orange has started training its store staff for selling the iPhone, and is readying a third-party training programme also in time for its launch via selected independent partners, including Carphone Warehouse, Phones 4U and a few elite dealers.

But it dismissed suggestion it was putting an inordinate amount of focus on a single handset, which is unlikely to be discounted for sales volumes, ahead of Christmas.

“The iPhone will be a very strong proposition for Orange in Q4 but, generally, we will have a strong portfolio of devices across the board. We already have the Motorola Dext handset, which has been very well received and which focuses on the Android platform and social networks,” said van Gaver.

“The iPhone is not the only Orange story this quarter.”