Showing posts with label Orange. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Orange. Show all posts

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Orange is growing in France again, competition is fierce

After a long dry spell, Orange is growing in its home market of France once again. It has been eight years of steady revenue declines under its new name for the once mighty France Telecom, but finally the Q2 2017 financial reports shows overall growth in France once again. More specifically, the never-ending decline in legacy PSTN services, along with a slight dip in mobile revenues, has finally been offset by growth in FTTH residential broadband services.

However, it is too early to say that a corner has been turned and the company's Essentiels2020 strategic plan will be a success. There is fierce competition in the French market in both mobile and broadband services. The company's much touted Orange Money, which has proven to be a successful in the African markets served by the company, has yet to catch hold in Europe. Also, Orange has 95,000 employees in France and substantial social obligations reflecting its long history, giving it the power and burdens of incumbency. Still, the return to growth in Q2 breaks the long chain of down quarters for the company.

Some positive results for the first half of 2017

Overall, Orange reported group revenue of Euro 20.276 billion in the first half of 2017, an increase of 1.1% (Euro 222 million) following an increase of 0.9% in the 2nd half of 2016 (Euro 188 million). Revenue growth accelerated in the 2nd quarter of 2017, rising 1.4% (Euro 138 million) after rising 0.8% in the 1st quarter (Euro 85 million). Orange recorded group operating income of Euro 2.434 billion in the 1st half of 2017, an increase of Euro 293 million compared with the 1st half of 2016.

Group highlights

Orange group's capex was Euro 3.276 billion in the 1st half of 2017, up 3.0% on a comparable basis, with capex on the telecom activities (Euro 3.251 billion) up 2.2% while the ratio of capex to revenue for the telecom activities was 16.0% (up 0.2 percentage points compared with the 1st half of 2016). Investments in fibre and very high-speed mobile (4G and 4G+) rose 16.5% compared with the 1st half of 2016, in line with the objectives of the Essentiels2020 strategic plan.

The group's fixed broadband base had 19.1 million customers at June 30, 2017 (up 5.4% year on year on a comparable basis). Mobile contracts customers in France and Europe segment had 350,000 net additions in the 2nd quarter of 2017, with the customer base up 3.3% as at June 30, 2017 year on year. 4G in France and in the Europe segment continued its rapid development, rising 39% year on year with 31.6 million customers at June 30, 2017.

Return to growth in France:

•   Total Q2 revenue in France amounted to Euro 4,452, up 0.5% compared to the same period last year.

•   Broadband ARPU amounted to euro 33.8, up 1.4%.

•   Mobile ARPU was euro 21.7, down 0.5%.

•   Mobile contract net adds amounted to 111,000; churn rate was 11.4%, unchanged from a year ago.

•   FTTH net adds amounted to 111,000, bringing the installed base to 1.7 million.

•   ADSL subscriptions dropped by 38,000.

•   In France, Orange invests more capex (18.1% of revenue) than elsewhere (16.0% overall).

SFR growing faster in FTTH across France

In comparison, rival SFR recently reported that it added 330,000 new connections to its fibre network (FTTB/FTTH) in France during Q2. SFR continued to hold the leading position in terms of FTTH subscriptions too with 10 million connections in 1,500 municipalities.

On July 12th, Altice-SFR announced an ambitious program in order to accelerate the fibre coverage across the country, aiming to cover 80% of the territory with FTTB/H by 2022 and 100% by 2025. The initiative will rely on private investment without direct public subsidy. Under the plan, Altice-SFR will have its own infrastructure for both very high speed fixed and mobile broadband, reducing its dependence on third parties.

Orange sees faster growth in Spain, lower mobile ARPU

In Spain, Orange added 148,000 net mobile contracts, but suffered a churn rate of 18%. The number of 4G customers reached 8.7 million, up 35% over the same period last year. Mobile ARPU stands at Euro 14.2, up 5.9% over last year, but below the European average. Orange had 141,000 net FTTH adds for Q2, but there were 133,000 ADSL deactivations. Orange has more homes within its FTTH footprint in Spain than in France: 10.7 million FTTH connectable homes in Spain (up 28% yr/yr), versus 7.9 million FTTH connectable homes in France (up 34% yr/yr). Orange's momentum in Spain traces back to its 2015 acquisition of Jazztel.

Orange is moving into content partnerships

A final area worth watching at Orange for the second half of the year is its moves to become a content aggregator. In March, the company announced the formation of Orange Content. It has already signed a number of agreements with prestigious partners, including Canal+, a historic partner, and HBO. Under the first partnership, Orange will distribute a new CANAL+ ESSENTIEL offer to its fibre customers, without commitment and at a competitive price.

At present, it appears that Orange will rely on content partnerships rather than acquiring content rights directly, even for football rights or sponsorships with other professional sports. This differs with rival Altice-SFR, which is pursuing sports rights directly and recently acquired exclusive distribution rights for the Champions League and Europa League for the 2018 to 21 seasons. SFR Sport is now also available on Android TV and on connected TVs in its OTT version. As with other telecom operators, exclusive content is now seen as the key to market differentiation and the best chance of reducing customer churn.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Orange unveils global Content division

France-based global telco Orange has unveiled its new Orange Content business, as originally announced in March of this year by the company's chairman and CEO Stéphane Richard.

The new entity, Orange Content, is intended to strengthen the presence and investment of Orange in the field of content, with a mission to drive the group's strategy in content and to support its development across the countries where Orange has a presence. The new division will combine the bulk of the current Content Division and subsidiaries comprising Orange Studio, OCS and OPTV (Orange Prestations TV).

This new entity will report directly to Orange CEO Stéphane Richard and will operate under a two-person senior management team, namely David Kessler, director, and Serge Laroye, deputy director. Effective September 1st, Orange Content will have five key functions:

1.         Strategic intelligence, interpreting of trends and the movements of industry players in order to identify opportunities for the group and its countries.

2.         Acquisition of rights both through the negotiation of distribution agreements and agreements on premium rights or with studios, plus provide support to all countries in these areas.

3.         Management and development of a production/publishing unit integrating Orange Studio and OCS, or other upcoming entities responsible for editing and production.

4.         The creation, evaluation and implementation of proposals on new formats, new usages and new solutions in the field of content with the group's internal stakeholders and external partners.

5.         Monitoring the development of each country's content turnover through strategic planning, collaboration with the countries and the implementation of joint action plans, as well as the development of profitable operations, with commercial and operational activities for distribution and content aggregation located within national entities, including for Orange France.

In addition, Orange and CANAL+ have strengthened the distribution of CANAL offers for Orange TV customers and will propose a new offer of CANAL+ ESSENTIEL for Orange fibre customers, while OCS, Orange Studio and UGC IMAGES have entered into an exclusive agreement in France. Orange has also announced plans to invest Euro 100 million over five years in crating series and cinema content.


Thursday, June 29, 2017

China Telecom and Orange Business Services Target IoT

China Telecom and Orange Business Services announced the extension of their strategic partnership into the IoT space during the launch event of eSurfing on the Silk Road, IoT with the World in Shanghai, China, with the new cooperation designed to enable the companies to serve enterprise customers via a combined footprint across three continents.

Through the expanded agreement, multinational customers of China Telecom and Orange will be able to deploy IoT and machine-to-machine (M2M) services across each other's networks.

China Telecom enterprise customers with outbound IoT businesses can deploy their assets and offerings on the Orange networks in Europe and Africa, while Orange's global enterprise customers can access the Chinese market utilising China Telecom's IoT network resources and business capabilities. In addition, both partners propose a global solution to address local IoT connectivity requirements leveraging eUICC capabilities and the commonly deployed Device Connectivity Platform from Ericsson.

China Telecom and Orange plan to cooperate commercially and technically to create new service models designed to address global IoT opportunities. Under the agreement, Orange will become one of China Telecom's preferred partners for connectivity in Europe and Africa, while China Telecom will support Orange in delivering connectivity in China.

The agreement also encompasses joint exploration of the potential for enhancing existing IoT capabilities and the application of new technologies such as mobile IoT in the global market.

Commenting on the partnership, Mr. Deng Xiao Feng, MD of global business department of China Telecom, said, "China is one of the fastest growing markets for IoT applications, China Telecom is working with Orange to push for the building of an advanced IoT solution to capture global IoT opportunities… China Telecom (and) Orange will address the increasing IoT demand and… support enterprise customers with the IoT Open Platform".

Friday, June 23, 2017

Profile of Orange, a global operation with big ambitions - part 5

Preamble

Orange SA is perhaps the global carrier with operations in the most diverse geographies and cultures. From its headquarters in Paris, Orange (formerly France Telecom) now serves 265.162,000 subscribers worldwide with mobile, broadband, fixed telephony, TV and a range of advanced enterprise services. Part 1 covered the company's recent performance indicators, Part 2 discussed two growth segments for Orange: Africa and mobile money, Part 3 discussed the spirit of innovation and its growth in Spain, Part 4 covered Orange Business Services and the company's efforts in SDN and NFV. Part 5 of the series will look at the mobile operations, especially as Orange readies for 5G.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

Quarterly and annual financial reports from Orange S.A. paint the picture of a mature mobile market, where ARPU remains flat despite increases in data traffic and continual capital expenditures. While this article has focused on areas of new investment, there has also been a very significant divestiture - the sale of its 50% stake in Everything Everywhere (EE) in the UK. In 2015, BT acquired EE from Orange and Deutsche Telekom for GBP 12.5 billion, giving it the leading mobile network in the UK with 31 million customers (including 24.5m direct mobile customers and 834,000 are fixed broadband customers). EE had previously operated the Orange and T-Mobile networks in the UK. At the time of the deal, EE was regarded by many as the UK's most advanced 4G network.

The joint venture was established in 2009 as a cost-sharing project of France Telecom (now Orange) and Deutsche Telekom. The operation also scored several notable MVNOs, including Virgin Mobile UK, The Co-operative Mobile and Asda Mobile. The sale its 50% stake in EE provided Orange with GBP 4.5 billion in cash and a 4% equity stake in BT. There has been speculation that Orange will use these proceeds to consolidate its position in Europe. Last year, Orange negotiated to buy Bouygues Telecom, the number three mobile operator in France, but these plans were scuttled.

The 5G rollout may be slower than in the U.S., Nordics, Japan and Korea

Unlike some other mobile network operators who are rushing to claim bragging rights as the first carrier to deploy 5G, Orange appears to be holding fast to previously published timelines to commercialise the next generation of mobile technology in 2020. This news emerged at Mobile World Congress earlier this year when major mobile operators and leading equipment vendors issued a call to accelerate the 5G New Radio (NR) standardisation schedule to enable commercial deployments based on the standard in 2019, one year ahead of schedule. The list of supporters notably did not include Orange.

Currently, Orange is conducting 5G demos and is planning large-scale field trials during 2018 and 2019. However, Orange was not an early mover for 4G, and here again the carrier has stated that it will no rush ahead with a pre-standard implementation that has not been fully vetted. In a press event following publication of its Q1 2017 results, company officials stated that capex plans for a 5G rollouts have not yet been budgeted as the standards are still evolving. 3GPP Release 15 is tentatively scheduled for phase 1 release in mid-2018; Release 16 specs should be out by the end of 2019. So far, Orange has announced 5G partnerships with Ericsson, Nokia and Huawei.

Related items

In January 2017, Ericsson and Orange exceeded 10 Gbit/s peak rates in 5G lab testing using beam tracking in France. In November 2015, Orange obtained two 5 MHz frequency blocks (10 MHz in total) in France at the end of an auction process for 700 MHz frequencies for a total sum of Euro 954 million. This will enable Orange to offer better quality of service, particularly inside buildings and in rural areas, and to prepare for the introduction of 5G technology, making Orange the only French operator to own 30 MHz in low frequencies.

In Poland, Orange Polska has also won auctions to acquire two frequency blocks on the 800 MHz band and three others on the 2,600 MHz band for the total amount of around Euro 700 million. In addition, the deployment of 4G+, which provides speeds which are twice as fast as 4G, is continuing in Europe.

Orange continues to deploy the 4G/4G+ networks in the European countries where it operates. For example, in Autumn 2015, Orange Spain commercially launched LTE-Advanced, which supports speeds of up to 336 Mbit/s. In Romania, where Orange is rolling out 4G+, the agreement signed with Telekom Romania in late 2015 for use of its fibre network in urban areas provides access to 20 million connectible homes, enabling the launch of convergent offers.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Profile of Orange, a global operation with big ambitions – Part 3

Preamble

Orange SA is perhaps the global carrier with operations in the most diverse geographies and cultures. From its headquarters in Paris, Orange (formerly France Telecom) now serves 265.162,000 subscribers worldwide with mobile, broadband, fixed telephony, TV and a range of advanced enterprise services. In Part 1 of this series, the company's recent performance indicators were covered; in Part 2 the two growth segments, Africa and mobile money, were profiled. Part 3 will cover Orange's innovation activities and growth opportunity in Spain.

The inertia of incumbency

By any measure, Orange is enormous. With 155,000 employees supporting 265 million customers in 29 countries, the management challenge of guiding such a large enterprise must be considerable. Like many formerly fully-state owned, incumbent, fixed line operators, the former France Telecom has a certain inertia due to its heritage and ongoing regulatory and social obligations. Earlier this year, Orange reached a labour agreement with the main trade union representing it workers in France. The contract provides an average wage increase of 2.3% and offers some special incentives to support young employees who have joined the company in recent years. Orange has about 95,000 employees in France.

Given the large employee base, it may seem incongruous to think of Orange as an innovation leader, but this has clearly been the ambition of the company's management for many years. Of course some of the company's history coincides with pioneering telecommunication technologies that were developed in France. The Minitel comes to mind - the iconic online videotext service that scaled to millions of terminals across France in the years before the Web. France Telecom officially retired the Minitel service in June 2012. Today, Orange has approximately 650 employees directly in the R&D programmes and the company is involved in 100 research partnerships with universities and public laboratories in France and abroad.

Looking for start-ups

Orange Fab is the company's international accelerator or start-ups. The program, launched in 2013 and now active in 14 countries, creates commercial partnerships between chosen start-ups and business units inside of Orange. It functions as a launch pad by providing business advice as well as local and international visibility. The latest location for an Orange Fab is Belgium/Luxembourg, where the company hopes to cultivate specialists in Big Data, AI, IoT and all the hot topics of the industry. To date, Orange Fab has contributed to the development of nearly 250 start-ups worldwide.

In April, Orange and Facebook kicked off a program designed to support start-ups focused on network infrastructure development. Orange, a member of the Telecom Infra Project (TIP) initiated by Facebook, said this new partnership would identify and support start-ups focused on network infrastructure technology. The Orange Fab, France Telecom Track accelerator, will support and guidance from experts at Orange, TIP and Facebook, as well as facilitate collaboration and investment opportunities. The project is managed through Orange Fab France, Orange's established accelerator program for start-ups located at the Orange Gardens campus in Paris.

Expansion on its southern border

Outside its home market, Spain is perhaps the most important region of focus for Orange, where the company has the ambition to reach 14 million connected homes by the end of 2019 - a major incursion into Telefonica’s home market. Already, Orange has more fibre-connections in Spain than it does in France. Currently, a total of 21.5 million households had fibre connectivity across the group's footprint at the end of March 2017 (up 53% year on year), of which 10.0 million were in Spain, 7.4 million in France, 2.1 million in Romania (following the cross-network-sharing agreement with Telekom Romania), 1.7 million in Poland and 352,000 in Slovakia.

In Spain, despite heavy discounting from competitors since last December, Orange's overall Q1 2017 revenue grew by 8.5%, suppressing the 7.9% the group achieved in Q4 2016 and more broadly over the full year 2016 where Orange widely over performed its two closest competitors. Mobile revenue accelerated to more than 8%, driven by a 5.4% growth in the contract base, and 4.6% growth in mobile quarterly ARPU, supported by recent service upgrades, the latest on the Jazztel brand and on the Orange brand. The company also reported strong results for commercial sales in both fixed broadband with 196,000 net fibre sales for the quarter (1.806 million fibre customers at March 31, 2017) and mobile contracts with 119,000 net sales.

As of the first quarter of 2017, Orange Spain had a total of 8.2 million customers. The contract customer base grew 3.2% year on year to 11.297 million customers and the quarterly ARPU of contracts rose 4.0%. Growth was also significant in mobile services provided to other carriers, in particular the growth of MVNOs and network sharing. Fixed services rose 7.5% in the first quarter, led by continued strong revenue growth in fixed broadband (up 8.5%). Fixed broadband had 4.2 million customers at the end of March (up 5.4% year on year), and quarterly ARPU rose 3.0%. TV services also rose rapidly, with 537,000 customers at the end of March, led by the success of content offers and notably the broadcasts of football championships.

In 2015, Orange acquired Jazztel, a network operator offering broadband and triple play services in Spain, for approximately Euro 3.4 billion. With Jazztel, Orange's fibre network reached 9.6 million connectible homes as of December 31, 2016. A joint investment agreement with MasMovil in July 2016 established the second largest fixed high-speed network. The latest figures from Q1 2017 show the incumbent, Movistar (Telefonica), losing some 25,000 subscribers, while Orange, MasMovil and Vodafone each gained subscribers.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

Profile of Orange, a global operation with big ambitions – Part 4

Preamble

Orange SA is perhaps the global carrier with operations in the most diverse geographies and cultures. From its headquarters in Paris, Orange (formerly France Telecom) now serves 265.162,000 subscribers worldwide with mobile, broadband, fixed telephony, TV and a range of advanced enterprise services. In part 1 of this article, we looked at the company’s recent performance indicators. Part 2 discussed two growth segments for Orange: Africa and mobile money; Part 3 discussed the spirit of innovation inside Orange and its growth in Spain. Part 4 will examine forward-looking aspects of the carrier’s network architecture, especially SDN and NFV, which will be critical to building a fully-integrated, global super-carrier infrastructure. These platforms are being deployed by Orange Business Services (OBS) now, putting the carrier ahead of many industry peers.

An early mover with network virtualisation

Orange Business Services (OBS) delivers the company's enterprise portfolio over networks deployed by the group (fibre, 4G, WiFi, software defined networking). It is a truly global operation with 21,000 employees in 220 countries and territories. Orange's international IP transit network, which it calls the Open Transit Internet (OTI) network, has 24 major PoPs (12 in Europe, two in Asia, eight in North America, one in Africa and one in the Middle East); interconnects between these major PoPs run at up to 100 Gbit/s. By mid-2016, Oranges says peak traffic loads reached 4.2 Tbit/s across its OTI.

In the red-hot sector of SDN, NFV and SD-WAN, Orange has indicated on various occasions that it has been developing its own technology. Orange is a leading player in industry standards organisations and several vendor partnerships have been announced. When it comes to building the next layer of network virtualisation, the carrier has played a key role. Orange was a founding member of the network functions virtualisation (NFV) initiative that became an Industry Specification Group (ISG) within the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) in 2013. A key research partnership was formed with France’s the National Institute of research in Computing and Automation (INRIA) in 2015, leading to the creation of <I/O Lab>, a joint research laboratory for virtualisation, network convergence and cloud computing.

In March 2015, Orange Business Services launched an early pilot deployment of virtualised network functions for small and medium enterprises (SMBs). The pilot enabled SMBs (with up to ten sites) to test an SDN-enabled system that lets users manage their Intranet and Internet service in real-time. Users could order and customize new virtualised application services of their choice: Internet content filtering, advanced security and anti-virus. Orange used its own SDN controller to managed the virtualised services.

In mid-2016, Orange and AT&T agreed to collaborate on SDN and NFV. Later, it emerged that Orange would become the first carrier to test AT&T’s Enhanced Control, Orchestration, Management and Policy (ECOMP) platform. AT&T’s ECOMP has since been merged into the Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP) project under The Linux Foundation of which Orange is a platinum member.

Orange has also been working with MEF and TM Forum to release the first set of standard application programming interfaces (APIs) for orchestrated Carrier Ethernet services later this year. This initiative uses MEF's LSO (Lifecycle Service Orchestration) framework and TM Forum's Open API framework to enable SDN architectures from different network service providers to interoperate with each other. There are plans to standardize 8 API definitions. This builds on the industry-agreed Open APIs developed by TM Forum members. Various other carriers are also part of this initiative, including AT&T Colt Technology Services, Comcast, Level 3, PCCW Global, TI Sparkle and Verizon.

In November 2016, Orange Business Services officially launched its Easy Go Network, which provides fully-virtualised network functions (VNF) using SDN, in 75 countries by the end of 2016. The Easy Go Network service, which underwent a year-long trial with customers, allows enterprises to instantly provision VNFs for branch offices with full digital self-service ordering, customer care and reporting functions. The service includes a plug-and-play router on site, eliminating truck rolls for more flexibility and rapid deployment. Orange says the key benefits of its Easy Go Network is that the service is on-demand and fully flexible with no upfront investment and no minimum revenue commitment. Billing is offered under a month to-month contract.

In March 2017, Orange Business announced plans integrate Riverbed SteelConnect technology into its hybrid network portfolio. The two companies are working together to develop a virtual network function (VNF) that customers will be able to deploy on universal customer premise equipment (uCPE) at their site. Full compatibility will be maintained with existing services as enterprises transition applications to the cloud. Riverbed said its SD-WAN offering, SteelConnect, provides an intelligent and simplified approach to designing, deploying and managing hybrid networks. Application performance is improved by real-time routing using the optimum links available between different networks. SteelConnect also enables zero-touch provisioning, allowing enterprises to set-up global networks quickly with easy management, providing a cost effective and superior end user experience. The first Orange pilot customers will be connected during the second quarter 2017 using managed SteelConnect appliances. The VNF of the service is scheduled to be available at the end of 2017. This will provide full virtualisation and orchestration managed through an easy-to-use ‘self-care’ portal to administer and prioritise applications.

Easy Go brings integration opportunities

For many years, Orange Business Services has been delivering MPLS WAN services for multinational with operations throughout the globe. Often, these have been complex WAN solutions that integrate all an organisation's voice, video conferencing and data communications with QoS provided for mission-critical applications.  For instance, OBS manages a private cloud on behalf of the European Space Agency, linking eight sites across the continent over a converged IP/MPLS infrastructure.  Another such high-profile project is the private IP/MPLS network that OBS manages on behalf of the European Commission, linking more than 250 sites across all EU member nations.

With SD-WAN, OBS now has the possibility of integrating access from other carriers. In May, OBS signed a four-year contract with Heraeus, a leading technology group headquartered in Hanau, Germany to centralize all services on a homogenous and stable network linking Heraeus' 110 locations around the world. Under the contract, Heraeus will unify all services currently provided by almost 100 different providers under Orange Business Services. While the announcement did not specify which WAN technologies would be put to use, it is likely that the new SD-WAN implementation will be employed in locations where an IP/MPLS node is not viable either from a local access perspective or simply for economics.

Orange remains a Layer 1 network operator with significant terrestrial fibre, subsea resources

It should be noted that while many carriers may offer virtualised network services such as Easy Go, Orange continues to operate a very significant fibre network both in Europe and internationally (18,000 km), not to mention one of the largest IP/MPLS backbones and conventional VPN services for multinational organisations.

Since the earliest days to telecom, the group has been involved in long-haul cables. Currently, Orange is involved in over 40 undersea fibre cables and consortia projects representing some 450,000 km of fibre cables. One such project is the recently commissioned SE-ME-WE5 cable linking Marseille to Singapore. Orange was one of the lead consortium members.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Profile of Orange, a global operation with big ambitions, slow, steady growth – Part 2

Preamble

Orange is perhaps the global carrier with operations in the most diverse geographies and cultures. From its headquarters in Paris, Orange (formerly France Telecom) now serves 265.162,000 subscribers worldwide with mobile, broadband, fixed telephony, TV and a range of advanced enterprise services. Part 1 covered the company’s recent performance indicators, this part will cover two growth segments for Orange: Africa and mobile money.

Ambitions for Africa

Orange currently is the No.1 or No.2 mobile network by market share in 21 countries across Africa and the Middle East, where it has more than 120 million customers. As of last August, Orange had launched 4G in 9 of these countries, with network upgrades planned or underway in all of these markets. The stated ambition is for Orange revenue in Africa and the Middle East to grow 20% over the 2015 to 2018 time frame. For 2016, Orange reported Euro 5.2 billion in revenue from Africa and Middle East (12% of the group total). The company views this region as a strategic priority given the young and growing population, as well as the lower mobile penetration and broadband adoption rates compared with developed markets in Europe.

One obstacle to overcome in the region is the lack of financial services for large segments of the population. For the past few years, Orange is striving to develop a mobile money service that could turn this situation into a strategic differentiator for its mobile networks. Orange Money is its flagship capability for money transfers and mobile financial services, currently available in 17 countries and with more than 31 million customers. To manage risk associated with its electronic money operations, Orange has set up a dedicated organization, CECOM, based in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. CECOM reports to the Orange Group and provides second-level control for the Orange Money business, which exceeded one billion Euros of transactions in June 2016.

For many subscribers, Orange Money is their first experience with an electronic bank but, over time, Orange Money is moving beyond basic banking. Earlier this year, Orange Money announced a partnership with Vivo Energy that enables customers to cash in and cash out money from their Orange Money account and pay in any of the 1,000+ Shell service stations operated by Vivo Energy. The services are already available in Mali, Cote d’Ivoire and Madagascar. Orange Money expects to have this operational across the rest of its common footprint by mid-2017.

The latest project in Africa is the expansion of the Orange brand in May 2017 to Liberia, where the former Cellcom Liberia has just become Orange Liberia. This was accomplished via acquisition of the Liberian operator Cellcom by Orange Côte d’Ivoire. Cellcom Liberia, founded in 2004, claimed over 1.6 million customers at the end of February 2017. The Republic of Liberia, which has a population of about 4.5 million, has a relatively low mobile penetration rate of 70%. Cellcom Liberia launched its 4G LTE network last year, with the construction of 29 sites. Now that it has taken over operations, Orange plans to accelerate the 4G network upgrade across the country, including in areas that are still awaiting basic telecom services. Approximately three-quarters of the population resides outside of the capital city of Monrovia.

Previously, in 2016 Orange acquired the second largest mobile operator in Burkina Faso from Airtel. Burkina Faso, with a population of approximately 18 million, has one of the strongest growth rates (5.8%) in the Economic Community of West African States, and a mobile penetration rate of about 80% as of last year. The deal with Airtel brought 4.6 million customers.

Also in 2016, the Orange brand replaced the Méditel brand in Morocco. Orange’s Moroccan subsidiary had 14.2 million customers at the end of September 2016, the second largest total within the group’s Middle East and African footprint, after Orange Egypt, and contributing close to 10% of its revenue in this region. The group's interest in Morocco goes back to 2010, when France Telecom invested Euro 640 million to acquire a 40% stake in Méditel. The Méditel network includes more than 5,400 km of optical fibre and more than 4,000 radio sites throughout the kingdom.

However, despite the many new markets and growing subscriber counts, the volatility of political and economic conditions in Africa always remains a worry. Over the past year, Orange said it was impacted by difficult conditions in Egypt and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Orange Brings mobile banking from Africa to Europe

Interestingly, several years after launching its Orange mobile banking service in African markets, Orange is now ready to bring it to Europe. In October 2014, Orange Finanse was introduced in Poland in partnership with mBank, the fourth largest retail bank. The company says Poland is where NFC (near field communication) has developed most fully in Europe, with 80% of payment terminals already equipped for contactless payments and more than 3 million users routinely using mobile payment services (Poland has a population of about 38 million).

Starting in July, Orange is launching a mobile bank for its home market of France. Launch materials distributed to the press state this new business is organised as Orange Bank SA, with capital of Euro 297,575,712 and a commercial relationship with Visa. In addition to standard banking services, Orange will provide money transfers via SMS, as well as a virtual assistant driven by artificial intelligence. Ultimately, Orange Bank aims to have more than 2 million customers in France, where it currently has around 30 million mobile users. Orange's ambition is to reach Euro 400 million in revenue in 2018 in the financial services field across all markets.

Stéphane Richard, chairman and CEO of Orange has commented that the commercial launch of Orange Bank for the general public in July marks an important new chapter in the group's history, with Orange also a bank that places customer experience at the heart of its business model. He added that Orange Bank will build on the professional skills of its banking experts, the disruptive capability of its partnerships with start-ups and the traditional assets of Orange: its distribution network, its expertise in digital services and financial strength. By bringing together these different sources of energy, it aims to meet the expectations of customers in a way that will enable it to adapt as their needs evolve.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Orange Digital Ventures launches EUR 50m investment in Africa

Global telco Orange announced it is strengthening its corporate venture strategy with the creation of a new Africa section within its program for investment in start-ups, Orange Digital Ventures.

As part of the initiative, the group is committing Euro 50 million of funding, corresponding to around half of the direct investments made via its new Orange Digital Ventures Africa program, with the other half devoted to indirect investments through specialised funding for Africa.

Orange Digital Ventures Africa will serve as Orange Group's investment vehicle for early-stage innovation projects in Africa in areas such as new connectivity, financial technology (fintech), the Internet of Things (IoT), energy and e-health. The program will target start-ups developing solutions to Africa's fundamental challenges while leveraging the operator's assets on the continent. Support will target start-ups based geographically in Africa and those based elsewhere but addressing African issues.

A dedicated team to be based in Dakar, Senegal will be set up to support the program in September this year to meet start-ups' requirements. Orange noted that the new initiative is a key part of its commitment in Africa, a growth area where currently nearly one in ten inhabitants is an Orange customer.

The latest initiative supports Orange's existing open innovation initiatives in Africa, which include the Orange Fabs in Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon and Senegal and BIG in Jordan designed to facilitate partnerships with the start-ups. In addition, Orange maintains a network of partner incubators such as CTIC in Dakar, provides Orange APIs on the continent and offers the Orange Social Venture Prize recognising social entrepreneurs in Africa.


  • Earlier this year, Orange announced that, as a member of the Telecom Infra Project (TIP) and together with Facebook, it would launch the Orange Fab France Telecom Track accelerator, designed to support start-ups focused on network infrastructure development. Through the initiative, selected start-ups are mentored by Orange and provided with access to its global resources, as well as support from TIP Ecosystem Accelerator Centres (TEAC) and Facebook.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Orange launches brand in Liberia following acquisition of Cellcom

France-based global telco Orange announced the launch of its brand in Liberia in West Africa, so that effective immediately, Cellcom Liberia becomes Orange Liberia, expanding the group's presence in the region.

The re-branding follows the acquisition by Orange of the Liberian operator Cellcom, which was implemented through its subsidiary Orange Côte d’Ivoire and completed in early April 2016.

Orange noted that, in line with its Essentials2020 strategic program, it is focused on building up its presence in the West Africa region as a strategic priority for the group's development, based on the anticipated significant growth potential the region offers.

Following the re-branding, Orange Liberia becomes part of a major international telecoms group. Orange noted that it will provide marketing expertise and technical capabilities to help strengthen the operator's established network and enhance customer service in Liberia.

Orange Liberia served more than 1.6 million customers as of the end of February 2017, making it the leading mobile operator in the country in terms of subscribers. Founded in 2004, the mobile operator was the first in Liberia to launch 3G (HSPA+) services in 2012, followed by the launch of 4G LTE services in 2016. Orange plans to continue to invest in the development of its network to bolster the operator's position as market leader.

Orange noted that, with a population of 4.6 million and a relatively low mobile penetration rate of 70% of the population, Liberia offers growth potential. To support this development, the Orange intends to enhance the quality of access by investing in network expansion. Specifically, it added 39 sites in 2016 and plans to add a further 65 sites in 2017 as part of efforts to accelerate broadband deployment and expand 4G penetration across the country.

In addition, the company aims to enhance Internet quality in Liberia by providing access to Orange Group's submarine and international cable networks in the region. This will provide Orange Liberia with access to two additional connection points, in Abidjan and Paris, that are expected to increase network capacity four-fold.

Orange has a present in 21 countries across Africa and the Middle East, where it serves a total of over 120 million customers. Orange Money, the company's money transfer and mobile financial services offering, is available in 17 countries with more than 31 million customers.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Orange Teams with Facebook on Start-up Accelerator

Global telco Orange announced that, as a member of the Telecom Infra Project (TIP) and together with Facebook, it is launching the Orange Fab France Telecom Track accelerator, designed to support start-ups focused on network infrastructure development.

Through the initiative, selected start-ups will be mentored by Orange and provided with access to its global resources, as well as support from TIP Ecosystem Accelerator Centres (TEAC) and Facebook.

As part of the initiative, Orange is working with TIP and Facebook to identify and support start-ups focused on network infrastructure technology with the launch of the new Telecom Track as part of its Orange Fab accelerator program in France. The partnership will aim to identify the best innovations and talent within the sector and provide start-ups with support and guidance from experts at Orange, TIP and Facebook, as well as facilitate collaboration and investment opportunities.

The project will be managed through Orange Fab France, Orange's established accelerator program for start-ups located at the Orange Gardens campus in Paris that is dedicated to R&D. The program also has the support of Orange Digital Ventures. By engaging with experts from Orange and its partners, start-ups will be provided with support in tackling network-related issues such as network management and access technologies.

Start-ups selected for the program will receive the benefits offered as part of the existing Orange Fab program, including the opportunity to participate in dedicated workshops, mentoring sessions with specialists and an optional Euro 15,000 in funding. They will also be provided with work space at the Orange Gardens, where the company's R&D teams are based. Start-ups will also have access to experts from the TIP community, TEAC and Facebook.

Orange has launched a call for projects to French start-ups that runs until May 14th; following evaluation of submissions, start-ups will be selected to join the acceleration program and can present at a launch event planned for June that will attended by Orange, TIP and Facebook executives, as well as partners and venture capitalists.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Orange Egypt selects Oscilloquartz Synchronisation for LTE Roll-out

Oscilloquartz, a supplier of timing solutions and an ADVA Optical Networking company, announced that Orange Egypt, a company of France-based global telco Orange, has deployed its OSA 5421 technology as part of a complete synchronisation solution.

The advanced precision time protocol (PTP) grandmaster clocks from Oscilloquartz are designed to distribute and assure accurate timing throughout the national network in Egypt. The end-to-end synchronisation solution will also support the phase and frequency requirements required for Orange Egypt's large-scale deployment of LTE and LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) capabilities.

It was noted that in October 2016, Orange Egypt became the first mobile operator in Egypt to be awarded a license to operate 4G services, which the company is now rolling out supported by an investment of around $484 million. The new network and services are supported by the synchronisation network based on the Oscilloquartz OSA 5421 solution.

Oscilloquartz's advanced PTP grandmaster clock is a compact synchronisation distribution and assurance device that incorporates the vendor's Syncjack technology that enables continual monitoring. The solution is designed to deliver both the accurate phase and frequency information required for Orange Egypt's 4G services and provide assisted partial timing support via a quartz oscillator that allows extended holdover in the case of GNSS outages. In addition, the solution is optimised for deployment at the network edge.

In November 2016, Oscilloquartz announced it had been selected to synchronise a national core transport network being deployed for India's armed forces. The 60,000 km infrastructure, being built by a consortium led by Himachal Futuristic Communications (HFCL), featured Oscilloquartz technology to provide precise frequency and phase delivery leveraging its caesium beam clock and synchronisation supply unit, plus its synchronisation management system, SyncView Plus.

http://www.oscilloquartz.com/

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Ericsson and Orange Exceed 10G in 5G Testing

Ericsson and Orange have exceed 10 Gbps peak rates in lab testing for 5G technologies in France.

"The significant increase in throughputs, including on the move, is one of the promises of 5G. These ever-increasing speeds will be needed for new use cases such as Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, or the needs of business environments. Thanks to our 5G partnership with Ericsson, we are preparing the future of networks," says Alain Maloberti, senior vice president of Orange Labs Networks.

A video is posted online.

http://www.orange.com

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x59jas9_high-speed-5g-experiment-orange-and-ericsson_tech

High-speed 5G experiment - Orange and Ericsson by Orange

Monday, October 24, 2016

Orange Business Signs Up a Pet Tracking Service for IoT Service

Orange Business Services will provide IoT connectivity services to Tractive, an Austria-based developer of hardware, apps and gadgets for pet owners.

Specifically, Orange Business Services will provide Tractive with SIM cards for IoT connectivity in the Tractive GPS product, which helps pet owners locate their pets. The deal provides global connectivity with borderless service for pet owners.

“For the services we provide to loving pet owners, seamless and interruption-resistant connectivity on a global scale is absolutely key. The Orange Business Services solution caters to our customers’ needs and requirements. We are especially impressed with the global approach from Orange and the close teamwork with our own experts. They are not just a provider, but a trusted partner for us with our future expansion,” said Michael Hurnaus, CEO, Tractive.

“Tractive’s intention to leverage IoT technology for the benefit of millions of pets and their owners worldwide clearly demands a reliable and trustworthy global provider, such as Orange. With our proven expertise across the full spectrum of IoT services, we are very happy to have been selected as their provider of choice and to help enable their global growth ambitions,” said Anne-Sophie Lotgering, senior vice president, Europe, Russia and CIS, Orange Business Services.

The Orange Business Services IoT connectivity service is part of Datavenue, a modular IoT and Analytics solution.

http://www.orange-business.com/en

Huawei Spain and Orange Hit 1.5 Gbps on a 4.5G Network

Huawei Spain and Orange reported download speeds of 1.5 Gbps on a 4.5G network, during tests in Valencia.

Huawei deployed a LTE solution based on the 3GPP LTE Advanced Pro standard. The average speed obtained was 1.54 Gbps.

Huawei said this milestone has been made possible by technological advances on LTE-Advanced Pro (also called 4.5G), which include:

  • Carrier aggregation up to 5 frequencies of 800, 1800, 2600 and 3500 MHz.
  • Simultaneous use of FDD (Frequency Division Duplex) and TDD (Duplexing Time Division).
  • MIMO (Multiple Input, Multiple Output) 4x4 (4 transmission paths, 4 reception).
  • 256QAM modulation, which allows for the sending of more bits in the same radio spectrum.

http://www.huawei.com

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Orange Business Services Launches Datavenue for IoT

Orange Business Services announced the international launch of its Datavenue service for helping enterprises implement IoT.

Datavenue includes four modules:

  • Select relevant objects and sources of data. Orange offers a full range of certified and tested connected objects, such as sensors, cameras or modules to connect existing assets. Datavenue has a catalog of data that includes population movement analytics using anonymized data from mobile networks.
  • Connect objects reliably with the most suitable and secured networks. A truck travelling cross borders or an agricultural sensor in a field would require different networks. To adapt to the wide diversity of needs, Orange provides a broad range of connectivity options. These include future-proof global cellular networks and innovative capabilities, such as eUiCC, worldwide fixed and satellite networks, as well as low-power solutions, such as LoRaTM.
  • Manage data to improve efficiencies and create enhanced services. For example, a construction company can monitor cranes worldwide to prevent problems and reduce maintenance costs. Managing data in real-time enables technicians to solve issues remotely or to arrive on site with the right material, thereby reducing service interruptions. Orange offers both cloud-based and on-premises software solutions, encompassing remote device management, processing and visualization.
  • Control key elements of enterprise transformation projects. Orange experts ensure end-to-end security and data protection, integration with information systems and service scalability. Throughout the entire project and beyond, customers can rely on Orange to ensure the solutions are future-proof and adapted to market evolutions.

“We have developed extensive vertical expertise around IoT and data analytics in several sectors, including automotive, industry, smart cities, healthcare and smart homes. Our solutions have already improved performance and employee safety through industrial machinery monitoring, enhanced patient care with remote assistance, and enriched citizen well-being with smart city services. This is now all being brought together to support the international launch of Orange Datavenue,” says Olivier Ondet, IoT and analytics vice president, Orange Business Services.

The service has been available in France since last year.

http://www.orange-business.com/en/datavenue

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Orange to Join AT&T’s Open Source ECOMP Effort

AT&T, which recently announced plans to contribute its Enhanced Control, Orchestration, Management and Policy (ECOMP) platform to open source, announced that Orange is now planning to test the platform for creating and managing its own software-defined network. Orange is the first telecom company to join AT&T’s ECOMP effort. The carriers have agreed to collaborate on open source and standardization initiatives to accelerate the standardization of SDN and NFV.

AT&T plans to release ECOMP as open source software in conjunction with the Linux Foundation.

“ECOMP is a stake in the ground. It’s a declaration that networks of the future will be software-centric, that they’ll be faster, more responsive to customer needs, and more efficient,” said Chris Rice, Senior Vice President - Domain 2.0 Architecture and Design, AT&T. “Orange’s decision, as one of the leading international carriers in the world, is a great endorsement of that approach.”

“The analysis we conducted of ECOMP currently shows it to be highly agile and comprehensive, a testament to the commitment that AT&T has shown to address the key challenges that global service providers all face,” said Alain Maloberti, Senior Vice President Orange Labs Network at Orange. “We jointly believe that a platform like ECOMP needs a strong and dynamic open source community to drive industry adoption, and we will work with AT&T to create a community to develop a reference software platform for automated network orchestration and management. We plan to start experiments with ECOMP firstly in a lab environment, to be followed by a field trial as part of our On-Demand Networks program.”

http://www.att.com
http://www.orange.com

Amdocs to Serve as Integrator for AT&T’s Open Source ECOMP


Amdocs will serve as integrator for telecom companies and cloud developers who want to use AT&T’s ECOMP platform to build their own software-centric network services. ECOMP is the service orchestration system that powers the AT&T software-defined network (SDN). Earlier this month, AT&T confirmed that it is committed to releasing ECOMP into open source. Amdocs said it will help companies deploy that open source software into their own...

AT&T Launches Network Functions on Demand Internationally


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AT&T Commits its ECOMP Service Orchestrator to Open Source


AT&T confirmed that it is committed to releasing into open source its current Enhanced Control, Orchestration, Management and Policy (ECOMP) platform, which is the service orchestration system that powers the AT&T software-defined network (SDN). AT&T said ECOMP is mature, feature-complete, and tested in real-world NFV deployments. The company believes open source ECOMP will bring maturity to SDN and become the industry standard for orche

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

AT&T and Orange Reach SDN + NFV Agreement

AT&T and Orange agreed to collaborate on open source and standardization initiatives that will accelerate the standardization of software-defined networking (SDN) and network function virtualization (NFV).

Specifically, the two companies agreed to collaborate in the following areas:

  • Make customer premises equipment (CPE) and services truly universal by creating common specifications for premise-based devices, allowing them to work in different NSP environments and with different network function software providers.
  • Streamline the onboarding process for virtual network functions (VNFs) by introducing common guidelines and templates that will mature the VNF provider ecosystem and make VNFs more plug and play.
  • Develop standardized APIs that will enable SDN architectures from different NSPs to interoperate with each other, making deployment of virtualized network services and functions faster and easier.

“We’re committed to defining a framework that will accelerate the adoption of SDN. Driving the industry toward a standardized approach will reduce the cost and complexity created by proprietary implementation of equipment in the network and on the customer premise,” said Roman Pacewicz, Senior Vice President, Offer Management and Service Integration, AT&T Business Solutions.

“Everyone benefits when network services and functions are designed around a common ecosystem that is delivered on open platforms. Innovation can happen faster and more easily, and this model will also help improve reliability and security,” said Didier Duriez, Senior Vice President, Global Solutions, Orange Business Services.

http://www.orange.com/
http://about.att.com/story/att_and_orange_collaborate_on_open_source.html

Monday, April 18, 2016

Start-up Aims for AI-based Real-time Video Identification

Valossa, a start-up based in Oulu, Finland, is working with Orange Silicon Valley and EchoStreams to demonstrate its AI-based real-time video identification technology.

Valossa’s Val.ai is based on years of research at the world-renowned computer vision and AI labs of the University of Oulu. The company says its technology analyzes streaming videos in real-time to identify thousands of concepts (e.g., places, objects and unique topics).

A system powered by EchoStreams FlacheSAN1N NVMe storage technology and GS420ND4 Exascale platform runs Valossa's software for identifying objects and people in real-time across more than 25 simultaneous HD video streams. The optimized-for-video supercomputer uses 16 state-of-the-art NVIDIA GPUs, exceeding 48,000 CUDA cores in a single 4U server.

“We are excited to collaborate with Valossa and OSV to bring High Performance Server and Storage platforms, which normally are only available in Supercomputing Data Centers, to the Media and Entertainment industry,” said Andy Lee, EchoStreams Director of Product Marketing. “By harnessing HPC computing power and Valossa AI, this demonstration is truly a breakthrough implementation of the Artificial Intelligence concept in real-world applications such as the Media and Broadcasting industry.”

http://www.valossa.com

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

#MWC16: Orange Rolls out VoLTE and WiFi Calling in Europe

Orange confirmed the rollout of VoLTE and WiFi calling across its European footprint. VoLTE will facilitate dramatically reduced connection times (falling from approximately eight to two seconds) and improved simultaneous use of voice and high speed data.

VoLTE is already available for Orange customers in Romania. Orange plans to activate VoLTE in its remaining European operations over the course of 2016 and early 2017. WiFi Calling will launch across Orange’s remaining European footprint over the course of 2016 and early 2017.

Orange also announces the launch of its first own-branded device to support both technologies – the Orange Neva 80. Retailing at under €200, the smartphone is Orange’s first own-branded ‘category 6’ device. Tt offers 300Mbps download speeds, making it the fastest device in the range and makes use of the very latest Android 6.0 Marshmallow software. In addition, responding to customers’ demands for durable screens, the smartphone will feature Dragontrail glass making it scratch and crack-resistant - also a first for Orange’s own-branded device range. At 5.2 inches with full HD, 143g and Orange’s slimmest own-branded phone ever at 7.6mm, the premium Orange Neva 80 is a sleek addition to the range. It also packs in a Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 octo-core processor, 16 GB of memory and 2G of RAM. And features a high-quality 5 mega pixel front camera with face-detection and 13 mega pixel rear camera.  The Orange Neva 80 also comes with NFC and is pre-embedded with Orange Cash in the markets where the service is available including France, Poland and Spain.

http://www.orange.com

#MWC16: Orange Signs with Google for Africa & Middle East

Orange announced a content partnership with Google to bring the best of mobile Internet across its full African and Middle Eastern (Orange MEA) footprint. The deal includes popular content covering fashion, sport and music, as well as everyday tools such as Google Search, YouTube and Google Maps.

Customers will receive one of the most competitively priced tariff plans in the region starting at $40, which will consist of a high-specification smartphone and a communication bundle with voice, SMS and data. Orange said the offer will be delivered in a phased approach and will start to roll-out across the full Orange MEA footprint in Q2 this year. The device will launch with the native set of Google services and the goal of the partnership is to develop local services and content over time.

“As the first pan-Africa and Middle East mobile partnership with Google on this scale, we are able to bring direct value to our customers by offering the best access and services to ensure they get the most out of the mobile internet,” says Yves Maitre, Executive Vice President of Connected Objects and Partnerships, Orange. “Through this all-inclusive digital communications package, we are proud to continue our promise to deliver affordable internet access across the region and connect people to what is essential in their lives.”

http://www.orange.com

See also