M&C Saatchi, Bartle Bogle Hegarty, WCRS and Mother will compete for the £43 million account. Orange is expected to make a decision by the end of October.
The account was resigned by Lowe two weeks ago, as relations broke down between agency and client. The relationship became severely weakened following the departure of most of the executives that won the business from WCRS two years ago.
The pitch will be overseen by Jeremy Dale, Orange's brand marketing director, who joined the company in August. Dale worked with Mother on the ITV Digital campaign, making the agency a favourite to pick up the Orange account.
WCRS was behind the successful launch of Orange in the mid-90s, which has secured the agency a place on the shortlist this time around. Bartle Bogle Hegarty lost its T-Mobile business as part of a global realignment last month, clearing its way to join the shortlist.
M&C Saatchi is risking its place on BT's roster for a chance to pitch.
The agency has not produced any work for BT for some months, however.
Clemmow Hornby Inge was a fifth contender. However, its Carphone Warehouse account is said to have presented too direct a conflict.