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France's Orange sticks by sunny GPRS mobile outlook
Posted: 22-Feb-2001 [Source: Reuters]

["We are just waiting for the handsets," says Orange executive.]

Cannes, France -- "France Telecom's mobile unit Orange sought on Wednesday to squelch skepticism about its next-generation GPRS mobile Internet services, a week after announcing a it would delay their launch.

"Europe's second-largest mobile operator confirmed fears that stop-gap ``always-on'' GPRS Internet phones will not be available on a large scale before next year.

"But Orange also tried to reassure investors about the prospect of new mobile data revenues after widespread consumer disillusionment with sluggish WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) online phone services. It insisted it would reap profits four to seven years after the launch of the GPRS services, with subscriber revenues doubling.

"From the second half of 2001 we will start seeing GPRS handsets coming out in tens of thousands, primarily targeting business clients. But it will be next year before we see a mass consumer market in France and Britain," Orange Executive Vice President Richard Brennon told a news conference on day two of the annual World GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) Congress.

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