On The Up: Orange

Shares in Orange, the number three mobile phone network, soared 35 per cent last week after the company said it added 513,000 new customers in the three months to 31 December. This was more than it added for all of 1997, as sales of pre-paid packages boomed in the run-up to Christmas. For the full year, Orange added 960,000 new customers, boosting the company's customer base by 80 per cent to 2.16 million.

Orange and its three UK rivals have enjoyed robust demand for mobile phones, fuelled by falling prices and the popularity of pay-as-you-go packages. More than 60 per cent of Orange's new customers in the period were pre-pay customers, the company said. These now account for 22.5 per cent of the company's user base. Copyright: IOS & Bloomberg