Hutchison Telecoms, the owner of both the Orange and 3 brands in Australia, has announced that from today, Orange is leaving Australia. Hutchison has decided to merge both of its brands, with the eventual aim of migrating all its Orange customers over to its 3G network Three. By doing so, Hutchison hopes to cut costs in the long run from running duplicated networks.
From today, Orange is now called 3 CDMA, although it will continue to run the same way as before. Post-paid Orange customers will receive and pay their bills as they always did (although you&'ll see 3&'s logo on the bill instead of Orange), while prepaid customers can continue to buy Orange recharge cards. However Hutchison is keen to move their customers over to 3 as quickly as possible and are offering what they call ‘generous&' incentives to entice the Orange crowd to switch. One of those incentives includes a complete waiver of outstanding handset contract fees, meaning Orange customers won&'t have to pay any fees for cancelling a contract early. Other special offers and rates cheaper than 3&'s standard offering are available to Orange&'s customers too.
Hutchison hasn't set a firm date for shutting down the Orange CDMA network, but CEO Kevin Russell has said that Telstra plans to shut down their own CDMA network within three years and that Hutchison&'s upgrade process would “complete well within that time frame”. He also said however that evaluation of the CDMA network&'s closure won&'t happen until a significant portion of Orange&'s user base moves to 3G.
3 shops and dealers are taking upgrade orders now, although for more information you can call 1300 788 088 or visit Orange's website.