Orange to Team with T-Mobile for Enterprise Wi-Fi

 
 
By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2006-07-06
 
 
 
It may not be the World Cup, but in one way, at least, France and Germany are working together in the United States. Orange Business Services, the enterprise unit of Orange France, which in turn is the wireless division of France Telecom, announced July 5 that it had entered into an agreement with T-Mobile USA to make T-Mobile Wi-Fi locations in the United States available to Orange Business Services customers.

T-Mobile USA, a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom, has about 7,000 "HotSpots" in airports, hotels, coffee shops and other locations in the United States. Overall, this agreement will bring the number of available Wi-Fi access points for Orange customers to about 35,000.

According to Mohammed Retmi, business development manager within the mobility business unit, Orange Business Services has "initiated a Next [New Experience in Telecommunication] program at the group level" and the company is using that to offer what it calls "Business Everywhere."

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Retmi said that because his company serves a number of multinational corporations, global access is critical. "What we provide to the customer is worldwide access," he said. "It has one end-user interface."

According to Retmi, Orange Business Services offers access ranging from dial-up to Wi-Fi, while a key part of the suite of services is security that includes user authentication, a VPN and a personal firewall.

Benoit Verbaere, Wi-Fi product manager for Orange Business Services, said a number of U.S. companies, including the Universal Music Group, are already using Oranges service, and that using the service makes things easier for managers.

"It allows the IT manager to pay only one single bill, including the usage of T-Mobile hot spots," Verbaere said.

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According to T-Mobile HotSpot Vice President Joe Sims, there are other benefits as well. "Whats cool about our relationship with Orange Business Services is the focus on multinational customers, which nicely complements our other partnerships," Sims said in a statement.

"Orange Business Service customers will now have access to our carrier-class wireless broadband footprint through a single interface, which allows us to deliver a seamless and more secure experience for international and domestic customers that may have roamed on their own accord prior to this relationship," he said.

Sims noted that T-Mobile and Orange have also executed a similar agreement that allows T-Mobile Wi-Fi customers to use Orange Hotspots when traveling in France. The agreement between the companies goes into effect immediately.

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