Mobile network operator Orange is launching its own-branded 5G smartphone – the Orange Neva Jet – in a move that supports the adoption of 5G mobile services across its European footprint. GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, found that telcos have entered the 5G market in terms of their go-to-market strategies, with specific commercial value propositions and smartphone bundling approaches.

5G smartphone models are still limited and price points are still high, however, telcos are offering device instalment plans to distribute the device cost over several months.

The own-branded 5G smartphone approach from Orange is an interesting move. GlobalData provides details of the device launch and an analysis of the rationale behind Orange’s own-branded device approach:

A glimpse into the 5G Neva Jet’s quality specs & features

The smartphone runs on the Android Pie OS and comes with a 6.47-inch borderless screen with full HD+ definition and integrated AI-based capabilities such as files management, pictures correction, phone resources prioritization and facial recognition; in-display fingerprint scanner; 128GB of RAM as well as a triple camera.

Pricing & Bundling Strategies to be decided at the OpCo level

The Neva Jet handset standalone retail price and plan-bundling structure will be set by the individual local Orange markets. However, GlobalData does not expect these to be at levels dramatically below currently available premium 5G smartphone models from other vendors. The pricing, along with the quality features included in the Neva Jet, are designed to attract early 5G service adopters.

Attracting early 5G adopters vs entry-level segments

The handset is clearly not a move intended at bringing down the 5G smartphone price barrier and at expanding the 5G addressable market to entry-level segments. It is rather aimed at providing early 5G adopters with a premium product, offering good specs with a relatively reasonable price balance. Sub-$300 5G smartphones are not available yet and democratization will happen further down the line, starting from 2020.

Houda Bostanji, Research Director at GlobalData, commented, “This own-branded device strategy is also designed to provide customers with the guarantee that the device will be interoperable with Orange’s future 5G networks and as such, their investments will not go to waste once 5G networks become more widely available across Orange’s footprint markets.

“Furthermore, the own-branded approach signals to the market that the telco is committed to being an active player in the 5G arena. It helps instil the perception that Orange is trying to help drive the end-to-end (E2E) consumer 5G ecosystem on the device, network and services sides.”

The Neva Jet is not the first Orange branded device. There have been several smartphones and even smart feature phone models previously launched across the telco’s Europe, Middle East and Africa footprint, with each offering positioned to cater for specific customer segments such as gamers, content-savvy, technological simplicity seekers and entry-level, and tailored to their specific digital needs.

Most importantly, the device immerses customers into the telco’s digital services ecosystem which can help lay down the foundation for future 5G monetization.

On the services side, the smartphone supports the Orange Livescreen feature – a screen which aggregates content from various streaming, local news and entertainment partners. It also offers the Orange VR Experience and free trials of Orange’s mobile gaming services in some countries. This can provide a good method to better engage with users, drive content and mobile traffic consumption. Orange reported that the live screen saw a 59% usage increase in Q2 2019 vs Q2 2018.

Thomas Kulinski, Senior Analyst at GlobalData, concluded, “Video, gaming, augmented reality (AR), and virtual reality (VR) will be crucial in further making the case for 5G speeds and latencies, driving data traffic and average revenue per users (ARPUs).

“Telcos need to start laying down these foundations, just as Orange is doing so, in the trajectory towards 5G monetization by bringing together a rich ecosystem of digital services with 5G smartphones encompassing the required capabilities to support these services.”

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