Happy Birthday, Orange

Ten years ago today...


Nelson Mandela was on the verge of winning South Africa's first free election. Kylie was on the cover of Australian Vogue and Elle. The very first international conference on the World Wide Web was about to be held in CERN, Switzerland.

And Orange launched its mobile service in the UK. Ten years ago today, on the 28 April 1994, Orange - backed by Hutchison - launched its mobile service with the tagline "The future's bright, the future's Orange". It was the fourth player in the market, competing against BT's Cellnet, Mercury One-2-One and Vodafone.

The Independent breathlessly reported that the telephones "will also allow users to identify the incoming caller by showing a name or number on the display, although this needs to be approved by the regulator, Oftel".

Andrew Harrington, analyst at Salomon Brothers Hong Kong, told the South China Morning Post that Orange had entered the wrong market and was over-ambitious. Lead investor Hutchison would not see a return on its money, he forecast.

Other observers predicted that with more than 2m subscribers already, the UK mobile market was saturated. Orange now has 13.6m active customers in the UK and 49m worldwide The Orange brand was chosen from a short list which included Pecan, Gemini, Egg and Miro. ®

Related stories

Orange boss makes the long walk
Orange outage hits 10,300 punters
Orange, Smart launch Bluetooth car

Similar topics


Other stories you might like

  • Ubuntu 21.10: Plan to do yourself an Indri? Here's what's inside... including a bit of GNOME schooling

    Plus: Rounded corners make GNOME 40 look like Windows 11

    Review Canonical has released Ubuntu 21.10, or "Impish Indri" as this one is known. This is the last major version before next year's long-term support release of Ubuntu 22.04, and serves as a good preview of some of the changes coming for those who stick with LTS releases.

    If you prefer to run the latest and greatest, 21.10 is a solid release with a new kernel, a major GNOME update, and some theming changes. As a short-term support release, Ubuntu 21.10 will be supported for nine months, which covers you until July 2022, by which point 22.04 will already be out.

    Continue reading
  • Heart FM's borkfast show – a fine way to start your day

    Jamie and Amanda have a new co-presenter to contend with

    There can be few things worse than Microsoft Windows elbowing itself into a presenting partnership, as seen in this digital signage for the Heart breakfast show.

    For those unfamiliar with the station, Heart is a UK national broadcaster with Global as its parent. It currently consists of a dozen or so regional stations with a number of shows broadcast nationally. Including a perky breakfast show featuring former Live and Kicking presenter Jamie Theakston and Britain's Got Talent judge, Amanda Holden.

    Continue reading
  • Think your phone is snooping on you? Hold my beer, says basic physics

    Information wants to be free, and it's making its escape

    Opinion Forget the Singularity. That modern myth where AI learns to improve itself in an exponential feedback loop towards evil godhood ain't gonna happen. Spacetime itself sets hard limits on how fast information can be gathered and processed, no matter how clever you are.

    What we should expect in its place is the robot panopticon, a relatively dumb system with near-divine powers of perception. That's something the same laws of physics that prevent the Godbot practically guarantee. The latest foreshadowing of mankind's fate? The Ethernet cable.

    By itself, last week's story of a researcher picking up and decoding the unintended wireless emissions of an Ethernet cable is mildly interesting. It was the most labby of lab-based demos, with every possible tweak applied to maximise the chances of it working. It's not even as if it's a new discovery. The effect and its security implications have been known since the Second World War, when Bell Labs demonstrated to the US Army that a wired teleprinter encoder called SIGTOT was vulnerable. It could be monitored at a distance and the unencrypted messages extracted by the radio pulses it gave off in operation.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021