Cutting Room: Orange must pull its socks up in SME

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Orange’s new FMC product Pocket Landline is a slight return, and it must do more to catch up with O2 and Vodafone in the business market

It can be argued ‘Everything Everywhere’ is a misleading statement at present, in the B2B market at least. So it comes as something of a relief to its dealers, perhaps, that it has some activity in the space at last. Pocket Landline looks on paper like a fairly decent addition to its portfolio, and something that might win it some new business.

The problem is it is only a version of O2’s Mobile Landline, now defunct of course. But Mobile Landline was an innovative offer. In 2008. Orange is launching Pocket Landline in 2011. In February or March 2011.

And since its demise, O2 has been clearing up with Joined Up – because the value is immense. But in the FMC market, Orange is going up against Vodafone, whose OneNet service will still look innovative in 2011.

Nevertheless, it represents new life of sorts by Everything Everywhere. But it must keep innovating, as it has promised with its parent’s vast R&D resources. At present, O2 and Vodafone bicker about SME market share. The most likely scenario is they are both ‘winning in the market’ – from Orange.

It makes good sense for Orange to be run as the mid-to-large enterprise brand and T-Mobile to clear up SOHO and the small-end of SME. It is important these decisions are made, and the distinction is clear.

But Orange especially must be driven forward purposefully in the channel. There is no use it privately wondering about the value of dealers. Its bigger-brand rivals have recognised their huge value: that their customers deliver more profit.

Orange must act, fast, or lose more of the scale it has talked up, and more of the B2B profitability it never had.

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