Orange Belgium says hey! to digital natives

Orange Belgium is wading into the low-cost mobile services arena with the launch of a new brand that will only market and sell services online.

The new digital sub-brand, hey!, is aimed at customers that prefer to conduct their lives entirely online and avoid the need to visit actual shops. Orange is also presumably hoping to tempt customers that would otherwise opt for low-cost services from rivals Proximus, Telenet and other providers.

Cheap and cheerful: Orange Belgium's new hey! brand is data heavy with no frills, priced to attract young people.  (Source: Orange Belgium)
Cheap and cheerful: Orange Belgium's new hey! brand is data heavy with no frills, priced to attract young people.
(Source: Orange Belgium)

For example, Proximus provides a simple range of mobile tariffs under its Scarlet brand and recently acquired the youth-oriented mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) Mobile Vikings, including the Jim Mobile brand. Telenet provides low-cost mobile services under the Base Belgium brand. In January, Proximus also signed a wholesale agreement with Dutch independent operator Youfone.

Shaking things up

The new Orange brand already has its own website with a smattering of franglais or flenglish that presumably appeals to today''s digitally savvy user. It is clearly aiming for simplicity with just three mobile plans on offer.

The cheapest starts at €7 (US$8.2) per month and includes 1GB of mobile data as well as 60 minutes and 500 SMS/MMS. Otherwise, Belgian consumers can choose to pay €15 ($17.6) per month for 10GB, 200 minutes and unlimited SMS/MMS; or €25 ($29.3) per month for 40GB and unlimited calls and texts.

Xavier Pichon, CEO of Orange Belgium, told Belgian media that the operator wants to shake up the market with this latest offer.

Orange Belgium tends to focus more on triple-play packages under its main brand, and indeed has expended considerable energy to be able to include fixed broadband services in the mix.

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According to Le Soir, Pichon noted that many Belgian customers prefer packages that include phone, Internet and television from the same operator. But Orange also estimates there are "several hundred thousand" customers who are looking for something different, with a particular focus on mobile data.

"Especially since the pandemic, we are seeing new habits appear and data is becoming even more important. We want to serve all segments with this brand," Pichon told the news site. While the Orange brand is focused on households and families, hey! is more targeted at the individual.

It is also possible that other services such as TV could eventually be launched under the hey! brand depending on customer demand, Pichon said. He declined to disclose how many customers Orange is targeting with the new brand but said "we are ambitious, otherwise we would not launch this brand."

Formerly known as Mobistar, the Belgian operation took on the Orange marque in 2016.

France-based Orange Group recently increased its stake in the Belgian unit from 52.91% to almost 77%.

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— Anne Morris, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

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