Mobile Carriers, now make their own phones too

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Last month, I had written that the wireless mergers were bad news for handset makers. Today the Wall Street Journal is reporting that for Orange, the wireless arm of French Telecom handsets built to its specifications are generating far more revenue than standard off-the-shelf models.

bq. Orange says customers using its leading “Orange Signature” handsets earn the company more than €100 ($128.27) a month in revenue on average, compared with €50 for the typical off-the-shelf phone. Orange says it has sold one million Signature phones, which bear the Orange brand and are designed to make it easy for the customer to use Orange’s multimedia services, such as picture messaging and Internet browsing. Orange has 50 million customers, mostly in Europe.

More and more carriers are going this route, and see this as a way to not only expand their own brand equity, but also lock out the big guns like Nokia who charge too much for their phones and less flexible. Vodafone and T-Mobile are jumping on to the same bandwagon as well, the Journal reports.

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