Orange said it is close to delivering on a revised commercial launch date for an online banking service, but reiterated it will not rush the service to market before ironing out teething troubles.

The operator originally planned to launch Orange Bank in early July, but revised the target after encountering problems during testing. At the time, the company told Mobile World Live (MWL) it aimed to get the banking service up and running after the summer.

A company representative this week said Orange aims to launch the service during the “back to school” period, suggesting Orange Bank should be up and running commercially next month.

However, the representative told MWL the “precise launch date will be decided” based on the results of ongoing tests of the service.

Testing times
Orange originally postponed the launch after failing to meet its own criteria for the “quality and reliability” of Orange Bank during employee tests. The problems related to the service’s user interface and customer service, Reuters reported in June.

Orange’s representative told MWL this week that CEO Stephane Richard previously explained the launch was pushed back because the customer experience fell short of the “level of excellence that we want to offer.” The spokesperson added improvements involved technical adjustments, but noted hundreds of accounts “are now open and used on a daily basis” as part of Orange’s test procedures.

The Orange representative added that 2,000 Orange employees have been involved in screening the service, with testing conducted in conjunction with the company’s Orange Lab facility: “Soon these tests will be expanded to new tester customers.”

Orange signalled its ambition to establish a banking service in 2016, when it acquired a controlling 65 per cent stake in Groupama Banque. The operator plans to rebadge the bank with its own name, and aims to establish a user base of 2 million customers in France long-term.