All About Orange
Orange will always have a special place in the heart of millions of British citizens. Their campaigns throughout the 90s set the tone for bold, unique adverts, most notably their ‘The futures bright, the future’s orange’ adverts, and billboards which featured nothing but an orange square on a black background. They grew to become one of the biggest mobile networks in the UK before merging with T-Mobile in order to become the EE, which was then purchased by BT. Before all that though, Orange had a history that’s truly worth repeating, so let’s do that here.
The Orange brand got its start with the formation of Microtel Communications Ltd, a consortium formed by Pactel, British Aerospace, Millicom (who also were a founding force in Vodafone) and Mantra. Hutchison Whampoa, who are now known as the owners of Three, acquired a controlling stake in Microtel, which had the license to develop a personal communications network in the UK. Hutchison quickly renamed Microtel to Orange Personal Communications Services Ltd, and on the 28th of April, 1994, named it ‘Orange’ as a 1800-MHz GSM network was launched in the UK.
That bold branding meant that by April 1996, Orange was able to go public, and was floated on the London Stock Exchange and NASDAQ, majority owned by Hutchison at the time. By June, it was the youngest company in history to enter the FTSE 100, valued at an astonishing £2.4 billion. Just one year later, Orange crossed the one million subscriber mark, an astonishing feat given the relative inconvenience and high cost of mobile phone ownership at the time.
Orange’s stint as a publicly listed company came to an end during October 1999, when it was acquired by the German conglomerate Mannesmann AG for US$33 Billion. This acquisition is what triggered Vodafone into making a hostile takeover bid for the German company, and shortly thereafter Vodafone completed the deal for US$183 Billion, though had to release Orange from their holdings as EU regulations wouldn’t permit them having two mobile licenses. In May 2000, France Telecom announced that they had purchased the brand from Vodafone for US$37 Billion.
Under the ownership of France Telecom, Orange grew to be one of the biggest mobile networks in the UK. However, on the 8th of September, 2009, France Telecom and Deutsche Telekom (owner of T-Mobile) announced that they were in advanced talks to merge their two companies into one. The deal went ahead, and on the 1st of April 2010, Orange was folded into EE.
Head office: Everything Everywhere Ltd., Hatfield Business Park, Hatfield, AL10 9BW GBR
Customer services: http://ee.co.uk/help
Number: 0800 956 6000