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Orange pushes try-before-you-buy

Helping Brits overcome 'innovation inertia'

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Orange is to address the reluctance of a neophobic British public with ‘Try’, an initiative which will let Orange-users trial services for a month, free of charge.

Less than 10 per cent of the UK population would go straight out and invest in a new technology, according to a new Orange survey. But the vast majority of respondents say they would be more willing to buy something new if given the opportunity to try it first.

Business customers and consumers are to be offered the option of a month’s free trial of a service which they have not used before. Consumers can choose from a range of services including picture messaging, video messaging, roaming, and access to the Orange World portal. Business customers will can also set up free trials of the mobile office card, mobile email, and Office Freedom products.

David Taylor, Orange UK VP of marketing, said he expects picture messaging and access to Orange world to be the most popular services trialled by consumers.

This assessment, and the survey results, are broadly in line with what management schools describe as the 'product diffusion curve', which identifies just 2.5 per cent of the consumer population as 'innovators' and 13.5 per cent as 'early adopters'. Voice is very widely used now, but picture and video messaging are still in the early stages of adoption. By making the services available on a test drive basis, Orange is looking to accelerate take-up.

"It is a win-win situation for us," Taylor said. "If people are not using a service we offer, giving them a period of free access to it is a very small investment on our part. Of our user base, only a very small number have used every service we offer. Everyone should be able to try something new.”

And those who do try the new services will show their friends who will also try the services and show their friends.

The mobile data market’s biggest challenge is lowering the threshold for adoption, according to John Delaney, principal analyst at Ovum’s wireless group. "Consumers need to realise that they can afford and understand the technology before they will buy. It is a lot to get to grips with and people are finding it difficult," he said.

Delaney argues that Orange may have been a bit slow to grasp the potential of mobile data, in the UK at least; but today's news shows that it is now on the right track. “In terms of marketing the product, Orange regains some of the initiative here. I would be very surprised if we don’t see the other operators follow suit," he added.

For more information on the Try initiative, go here ®

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