Mobile network operator Orange has launched a startup accelerator today called Orange Fab, which will be used to help US-based startups create and develop new products that can “change the way people connect and communicate”.

The three-month program is being run by Orange Silicon Valley, which is based at the company’s development center in San Francisco. The first class, consisting of four to six startups, will be selected in April and start in May with up to $20,000 in funding.

They’ll be paired up and advised by Orange executives based in Silicon Valley, Europe, Africa and the Middle East, as well as mentors such as Jean Marc Harion, CEO of Orange Belgium, Nate Bold, Design Research Manager at Facebook and Frederique Dame, Product Manager at Uber, among others.

The program includes more than 22 events, workshops and lectures, as well as two demo days being organized for Paris in June and Silicon Valley in July.

Startups that are interested in applying need to have an existing product that is either in an advanced beta phase, or has already launched. “Preferably, they have not yet raised a series A round of investment from VCs,” the company adds.

The initial deadline is April 7, and startups can apply right here.

“With Orange Fab, we join together with the next wave of Silicon Valley innovators to reimagine the future of communications,” Georges Nahon, CEO of Orange Silicon Valley and President of Orange Institute said.

“We are optimistic that opening up our world-class innovation center in San Francisco, and providing start-ups privileged access to decision-makers on the front lines of our business operations will be a win-win for all participants.”

Orange, part of France Telecom-Orange, is one of the leading telecoms operators, present in 32 countries and with a customer base close to 231 million. 172 million of those are mobile phone users, so it’s safe to assume that Orange will be looking for at least a few startups that can radically shake up the smartphone space with a new or compelling service.

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