Orange Bank will not launch next week after an initial test phase failed to meet expectations at the France-based telco.

The company has been trialing its new mobile banking service with employees over the past six to eight weeks ahead of a commercial launch that was slated for 6 July.

However, Orange said CEO Stéphane Richard had decided to extend the test phase after initial trials did not meet “the standards and criteria of excellence in terms of quality and reliability that the Group expects”.

A commercial launch has now been pushed back until after the summer.

The operator did not specify the exact nature of the issues that the tests had unearthed, but Reuters has reported that there were problems “related to the quality of the user interface and the customer service”.

The news is a blow to Orange, which announced plans to enter the retail banking market in January 2016.

Orange acquired a majority stake Groupama’s banking arm and said it hoped to attract two million customers.

The service offers current and savings accounts plus an AI-based virtual assistant based on IBM's Watson.

Orange Chief Marketing Officer Jean-Marie Culpin told European Communications last month that the provision of mortgages and other credit services – not available at launch – would be key to the bank’s success.

Richard has described Orange’s move into banking as “an important new chapter in the Group’s history”.

It is hoped that Orange Bank will contribute to the operator’s target of €400 million in revenues from financial services in 2018.

In a statement, Orange said: “We aim to launch a high-quality, innovative product for our customers and we will take the time necessary to ensure that these expectations are met.”

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