Orange today announced the launch of its first smartphone compatible with VoLTE and Wi-Fi calling, as it affirmed its intentions to roll-out the two services across its European footprint.
The majority of the operators’ customers will however have to wait to access both services, which have only so far been launched in Romania.
It said in a statement “it will undertake the necessary technical preparation and activate VoLTE in its remaining operations in Europe this year, and early 2017.” It has also earmarked a similar timeframe for Voice over Wi-Fi calling.
The Orange Neva 80 device, which will be available from April, will be priced at €200, and targets both the mass and premium segment of the market.
It will be the company’s slimmest smartphone available and will run on Android 6.0 Marshmallow.
Speaking to Mobile World Daily, Orange’s marketing deputy director, Guillaume de Riberolles, said the Neva 80 was designed for customers “that want the best technology, but can’t afford the latest Samsung or Apple device”.
“We are continuing our devices story by providing enriched voice services across our European footprint and we believe it is now the right time for more countries to begin activating both VoLTE and Voice over Wi-Fi.”
In a separate update, Orange announced a new partnership with Google to provide its mobile customers across its EMEA footprint with “an all-inclusive digital communications package”.
Targeting growth in data services in the emerging markets, it will offer customers a bundled package of voice, SMS and data, in addition to a high specification smartphone, for a package starting at $40 for three months.
Orange said its partnership with Google was intended to drive local content in the regions, build a local language ecosystem, and tap into the 55 per cent of its customer base which does not use smartphones.
“We want to convert these people into data users,” added Yves Maitre, EVP, connected objects and partnerships. “Across the EMEA footprint we have seen data consumption increase rapidly, but parts of the population which is less wealthy cannot enjoy data. With this complete communications service, we hope to change that.”