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Wanadoo job cuts come despite assurances

Staff wait to hear whether jobs safe

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Up to 2,000 jobs are to be lost in the UK at France Telecom-owned Orange and Wanadoo despite recent assurances that numbers would not be axed.

In February, France Telecom announced that 22,000 jobs would be culled as the giant telco struggles to cut its whopping debt mountain while facing a cut in traditional revenues.

However, a France Telecom spokeswoman said at the time that Orange and Wanadoo in the UK would be spared the axe.

"We expect staffing numbers to remain stable at 15,500 employees," she told us, and that this number would "probably be about the same in three years time".

Today, Orange announced that 15 per cent of its workforce in the UK would be erased. As part of the shake-up, Eric Abensur, the boss of Wanadoo UK, has joined Orange UK to head up the cellco's broadband division. El Reg understands that all of Wanadoo's staff have now also been transferred to Orange as part of that shake-up.

In a statement, the firm confirmed that "Wanadoo UK is now part of an integrated Orange UK mobile and broadband business instead of a stand-alone operation".

As reported by The Register last week, it is now just a matter of time before the Wanadoo name is scratched in favour of the "Orange" brand. The firm has already said this will happen by the end of May, although it could creep into early June.

So, what's Orange's plan? Well, the firm is keeping mum on details of any new offers although anything it announces will be compared to the Carphone Warehouse's all-inclusive offer of phone and broadband for £20.99 a month.

In February, cellco Orange released details of a fixed line phone services aimed at business users by piggybacking on Cable & Wireless' (C&W) network. The firm claimed its "Orange Landline for Business" service would provide fixed line services with call charges up to 20 per cent cheaper than BT.

Last August Orange teamed up with Wanadoo to offer its new punters 2 meg broadband for £9.99 a month. ®

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