Mobile phone giant Orange, which employs 200 people in Solihull, has said that it planned to axe up to 450 jobs under an overhaul of the UK business.
The cuts will come in administrative and management areas, although the group said it also planned to create 500 customer-facing roles. Orange, owned by France Telecom, has 15.8 million mobile customers and 1.1 million UK broadband users.
Orange has around 12,500 staff in the UK. It employs 2,500 in customer services in North Tyneside, a further 2,500 customer service staff in Darlington and 2,000 in Bristol in head office and technical functions.
The group also has 1,500 customer service staff in Plymouth, 500 more in London and 350 in St Albans, Hertfordshire. There are 300 staff in Leeds and 200 in Solihull, with the remainder spread across stores or smaller technical sites.
No particular region is being targeted by the cuts.
New chief executive Tom Alexander said the job losses were necessary to “remove duplication” and improve the efficiency of the business.
News of the cuts came as Mr Alexander unveiled plans to grow the UK business to target the “web-savvy, product-savvy” 21st century customer. Proposals include expanding on the high street to almost 400 shops by opening 60 new stores over the next year, as well as overhauling its online presence and stopping the expansion of its offshore call centres in India.
The group is investing in its mobile phone network, with 450 new base stations to improve the quality of its coverage, as well as boosting its 3G network offering services such as mobile internet and mobile television.
Orange is also launching a “super-fast” mobile 3G network next year after an initial roll-out in five cities. In the first three months of 2008, Orange posted revenues of 1.44 billion euro (£1.14 billion) in the UK - 9.5% ahead of the same period last year before the impact of the pound’s fall in value against the euro took effect.
France Telecom posted overall revenues of 13 billion euro (£10.3 billion) for the first quarter, and has 172 million customers on five continents.