Global cellphone operator Orange is launching a cheaper version of its 3G service in France later this week which allows customers direct access to the internet, TV and video-on-demand.

The France Telecom unit aims to sign one million customers to its EDGE and high speed 3G services by June next year, doubling to two million by the end of 2006.

Orange says the new service will cover 85% of the French population, offering 42 television channels ranging from domestic public-service broadcasters France 2 and France 3, to BBC World and Fashion TV.

Ceo Didier Quillot hails cellphones as "the fourth screen" after cinema, television and computers. He says Orange will invest more than €200 million ($245m; £135m) in 2005 and 2006 to make its network EDGE-compatible.

Data sourced from Financial Times online; additional content by WARC staff