Orange Gets a Social Life

Looking through the news today, I saw that Orange in the UK has announced a new service called Social Life. This will be a site on the operator’s Orange World portal that allows people to access multiple social networking accounts from one place. This is made by possible by a single log-in.

As I understand it, people will be able to update their status and upload pictures to some or all of their social networking sites. Only Facebook, MySpace and Bebo are currently accessible, but the operator plans to add more services.

In my view, Orange in the UK is really starting to take a lead in launching new services and get itself back on track. Only a few weeks ago it unveiled Monkey, a streaming music service aimed at young people. I think it might do well.

Orange is one of the very first operators to aggregate social networking sites and give people a simple way of managing and organising multiple accounts from one place. I felt this was always going to happen as operators jump on the social networking bandwagon in an attempt to keep traffic on their portals.

Orange is positioning Social Life as a branded service. This is consistent with its strategy for its portal and services in the UK (Orange Monkey) and in France (Orange Musique Max, Orange cinema series).

I expect other operators to offer similar products. Vodafone’s rumoured to be planning a massive overhaul of its Live! services. Companies like Ericsson and Mobixell will step up to provide networks with the infrastructure to power these offerings. Operators will benefit from increased data traffic and advertising opportunities. More importantly, it may help to retain subscribers as social networking continues to spread in 2009 and beyond.