Orange – one of the first major mobile providers in the UK

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Founded in 1993, Orange was one of the first mobile providers in the UK, and has proven to be one of the most popular and influential.

Although Orange was merged with T-Mobile in 2009 to create Everything Everywhere (now EE), Orange is still marketed as a stand-alone brand, though this is done largely for products that only operate on 3G networks.

Like most mobile network providers, Orange offer two different methods for customers to use their service – either Pay As You Go (PAYG) or through a pay monthly contract. With PAYG, Orange allows the customer to choose when they add credit to their account in the form of top-ups, and up until around the turn of the millennium this was the company’s most popular tariff. However, with the advent of mobile web browsing and 3G connections, many have moved over to the company’s contracted, pay monthly services in order to take advantage of the greater data allowances on those packages.

Much of the company’s marketing has been done through their links with the film industry – the Orange Wednesday 2-for-1 cinema ticket offer has proved to be hugely popular since it launched in 2003, and the ‘Orange Gold Spots’ – the filmed-themed comedy shorts shown before a movie in British Cinemas – have become iconic in their own right.

It was originally intended that the merger with T-Mobile would signal the end of the company, but the enduring public affinity with the Orange brand has meant that EE is currently only being used to sell 4G packages – a vital emerging marketplace for mobile providers. The company’s main competitors are currently Vodafone, Virgin Mobile, O2 and Three, but every year seems to throw up new businesses looking to join the market – with TalkTalk being among those to have recently launched a mobile network.