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Orange UK is depending on business users' desire for mobile broadbandIinternet access to fuel early demand for 3G services. France Telecom's mobile subsidiary is launching services for business users now, but is waiting until nearer the end of the year to launch handsets - which will be provided by SonyEricsson and LG.

L'Orange claims to have "the most extensive integrated 2.5/3G network in the UK", with coverage for 66 per cent of the population, including major cities Bristol, Edinburgh, Sheffield and London. UK customers will also be able to access 3G networks in Germany, Italy and Spain via the FreeMove alliance and Orange's French network.

A spokesman for Orange said: "We will launch consumer services and handsets in the second half of this year but business users are the first market." The spokesman said Orange was working with handset manufacturers for the consumer launch.

The first product is 3G Mobile Office Card using Merlin U530 Wireless PC Modem card from Lucent and Novatel Wireless. For £20 a month users can get 65Mb a month - unlimited access is £75 a month but still capped at 1Gb per month. ®

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