Orange to launch VoLTE and WiFi Calling across Europe


Unveils first compatible own-branded smartphone for VoLTE and WiFI Calling, the Orange Neva 80

Mobile World Congress: Orange has announced today at Mobile World Congress that it is launching voice over LTE (VoLTE) and WiFi Calling across its European footprint, to be completed by the end of 2016.

With VoLTE, which is already available in Romania and for some customers in Spain, the technology will facilitate dramatically reduced connection times, which fall from approximately eight to two seconds, and improved simultaneous use of voice and high speed data. Orange will undertake the necessary technical preparation and activate VoLTE in its remaining European operations over the course of 2016. Precise timings for availability will be determined by each market.

With the launch of WiFi Calling, Orange is extending and complementing its mobile network to offer customers greatly improved indoor coverage, responding to those customers who struggle to get reception inside their homes and businesses. WiFi Calling will launch across Orange’s remaining European footprint over the course of 2016 and early 2017.

Yves Maitre, executive vice president of connected objects and partnerships at Orange, told Smart Chimps: “Orange is investing a lot in network technology all over Europe. When we talk about LTE, we have to talk about VoLTE, and that’s what’s coming out over 2016. Also, as a convergence opportunity, we have a lot of Orange ADSL customers, so we are starting to provide customers with WiFi Calling and VoLTE so when they are at home, where LTE coverage may not be as good as they would expect, they can switch to Wi-Fi. All our customers will be able to benefit form a great Orange service.”

As part of its push for VoLTE and WiFi Calling, Orange has also announced the launch of its first own-branded device to support both technologies, the Orange Neva 80. The smartphone will be available from April onwards across Orange’s European footprint. Retailing at under Euro 200, handset only and also available on a contract basis depending on market, the smartphone is accessible to customers seeking a high specification device at a reasonable price.

Maitre added: “This device is the first really affordable device available worldwide for these technologies. Neva will be around Euro 200, which is about £130; competing products are Euro 400 and above. This is an Orange phone that will compete with very high end devices.”

Maitre said that, “In a nutshell, this is a Cat 6 product, which allows over 300MB download speed. It is Android Marshmallow, has an Octocore processor from Qualcomm, plus 16GB memory and 2GB RAM as well as a 13MP front camera and a 5MP rear camera. Also, it includes NFC for Orange cash, which is available in France, Poland and Spain”.

“Orange is trying to redemocratise the quality of the networks for everyone. [As part of that] you need to provide your customers with an affordably priced device,” Maitre explained, commenting that markets such as Moldova and Romaina need a lower cost device than major mobile manufacturer brands currently provide. “This device is providing the best technology and price for customers, even in countries where the GDP is five to seven times lower than that in the UK,” he concluded.


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