Mobile phone group Orange is to cut around 1,800 to 2,000 jobs in the UK as it takes the knife to costs following the integration of its Wanadoo UK Internet business, the France Telecom unit said yesterday.

"Specifics will be worked out over the next few months and a final structure in place by September... We will be 15 per cent leaner, resulting in significant annual savings and a streamlined, more efficient organisation," the firm said in a statement.

The job cuts would be achieved mainly through a combination of redeployment, natural attrition, non-renewal of temporary short term contracts, and some redundancies.

Parent France Telecom has also embarked on a drive to cut costs to compete better in an increasingly tough telecoms market.

In February this year, France's top telecoms group announced it would cut 17,000 jobs across the world between 2006 and 2008, the vast majority of them in France.

Orange also announced a restructuring of its top UK management, naming Bernard Ghillebaert as the head of its UK operations. Former Wanadoo chief executive officer Eric Abensur will become the vice president for broadband and report to Mr Ghillebaert.

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