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

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Orange brings 5G tests in 3.7 - 3.8GHz to Marseille

Orange has received regulatory approval to begin 5G testing in the 3.7 - 3.8GHz frequency band in the city of Marseille.

Orange will use equipment from Nokia for this trial deployment.

Orange's 5G strategy has three components: improved high-speed mobile broadband, high-speed fixed broadband access and new uses - notably through connected objects to support the digital transformation of different business sectors.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Orange demos 5G home services with Samsung, Cisco

Orange has been conducting a multi-vendor 5G fixed wireless trial in Floresti, Cluj, Romania..

The trial makes use of Samsung's 5G solutions including the virtualized RAN, one of the smallest 5G access units and multiple indoor and outdoor 5G routers (CPE), as well as Cisco’s Meraki Z3 WiFi Router and Ultra Gateway Platform, which delivers a 5G virtual packet core on top of Cisco NFV Infrastructure that brings enhanced throughput and flexibility.

The trial, which has been underway for a month and a half across multiple homes in Floresti, uses 26 GHz spectrum, massive MIMO and beamforming technologies.
The companies report coverage beyond 1 km at 1 Gbps speed for a single user in real live conditions. Measurements in these conditions also show aggregated cell downlink throughputs of 3 Gbps with few users, although the system capacity is significantly higher.

Orange is also testing Samsung’s Connectivity Node installed on a streetlamp to provide wireless connectivity for temperature and humidity sensors and security cameras. Sensors and cameras are connected wirelessly to the node, which is then connected to the core network via 5G. The Connectivity Node is a compact, high-capacity, easy-to-install and economical alternative for places where wireline deployment is unfeasible or costly.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Orange conducts Cloud RAN trial with Nokia

Orange conducted a trial of Cloud RAN technology in its live network in Poland in conjunction with Nokia.

The trial, which used Orange's own cloud infrastructure, took place from March to the beginning of May in Poland, with radio sites in the city of Chelm and the virtualized part of the baseband running in a data center in Lublin, around 70 km away.. The two companies trialed Cloud RAN technology to prepare for the eventual introduction of a distributed cloud architecture for 5G by Orange.

Nokia's architecture splits baseband processing functionality across the radio cell sites and data center using its AirScale Cloud Base Station. Time-critical functions are performed at the cell site and connected via Ethernet fronthaul - allowing the operator to use its existing transport network - while centralized software hosted at the data center cost-efficiently performs non real-time functions.

About the trial

  • Nokia AirScale Cloud Base Station, a virtual base station for 4G and 5G, running 4G technology via Ethernet fronthaul
  • Orange's NGPop cloud infrastructure
  • Nokia AirFrame Data Center platform designed to meet stringent radio access capacity, performance and latency requirements
  • Nokia Cloud Infrastructure for Radio/Real Time
  • Nokia NetAct monitoring Cloud RAN and classical RAN in the commercial network

Piotr Jaworski, CTO of Orange Poland, said: "During this trial, Orange Poland has successfully trialed virtualized RAN architectures in collaboration with Nokia and investigated the impact on network operations. The quality and performance observed during the trial give confidence on the RAN virtualization and is a critical step for us towards 5G."

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Orange builds 200G optical backbone across Spain with Huawei

Orange Spain has deployed a national optical transport network using Huawei's equipment.

The optical backbone offers up to 96x200G transmission capacity. The new network consolidates the traffic of several different DWDM systems that arose as the result of several mergers.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Orange offers terrestrial link between Marseille and Atlantic subsea cable stations

Orange International Carrier is launching a high-capacity, direct terrestrial fiber connection between Marseille and Penmarch, linking the landing stations for Mediterranean and Atlantic subsea cables.

Orange said this new terrestrial service bridges existing submarine cable routes from Asia/Middle East and West Africa, including CHLS SMW4 Saint-Mauront, CHLS IMEWE Bonneveine and Interxion’s Data Center MRS1, at Marseille with the CHLS SMW3 and ACE submarine cables at Penmarch.

“This unique service is being added to the range of Orange solutions already available in Marseille to facilitate connections in regions where data growth is increasing significantly,” said Pierre-Louis de Guillebon, CEO of Orange International Carriers. “This is a fully Orange
owned route, which will soon be automated, and it means that Orange can now offer a secure ‘all-inclusive’ solution by way of configuration, housing and operations.”

https://wholesalesolutions.orange.com

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Orange deploys Cisco NCS 5500 for its Open Transit Internet backbone

Orange is using the Cisco Network Convergence System (NCS 5500) to modernize and expand the Orange Open Transit Internet (OTI) service, which is a Tier 1 international Internet connectivity service offering direct access to the Internet networks in more than 100 countries through more than 50 points of presence (POPs). Orange's OTI targets both Internet service providers and content providers. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The companies said this initiative expands Orange's OTI network in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, with reduced operational complexity and increased capacity using the new generation of routers on its OTI service.

“Our work with Cisco on OTI supports the further evolution of our network, allowing us to cope with huge traffic growth and improving the reach of our network,” said Jean-Luc Vuillemin, senior vice president, Orange International Networks Infrastructures and Services.


Cisco adds to its Service Provider routing portfolio

Cisco announced the addition of hardware, software and security options to its Service Provider routing portfolio. Highlights include:

Routing hardware 

Cisco NCS 500 Series: addressing converged wireline and wireless 5G-ready requirements for mobile x-haul and future evolutions of Carrier Ethernet networks, and various bandwidth needs ranging from 1 to 100 Gbps interfaces in small form factors.

Cisco ASR 9901: it supports applications such as distributed provider edge, Internet peering, metro aggregation and broadband network gateway (BNG) in a space-optimized platform; It delivers 456 Gbps of port capacity while also providing flexibility in terms of port speeds ranging from 1 to 100 Gbps with industry-leading MACsec encryption support across all ports.

Cisco NCS 5500 Series:

  • Two fixed chassis supporting 24 and 36 100GE ports 
  • A 36 100GE ports line card targeted at high-density core, mobile backhaul and data center interconnect use cases; Offers flexible port configuration supporting 10G/25G/40G and 100G per port with enhanced scale capabilities (external TCAM) 
  • A compact 2RU router targeted at high-density metro aggregation, mobile backhaul networks and long-haul connectivity use cases; Delivers maximum flexibility with the support of Modular Port Adapters (MPA) with options of different port types and MACsec encryption support.

Routing software additions

Segment Routing: Offers service providers more control over Internet traffic by delivering a unified transport fabric across aggregation, edge, core and data center network domains with unmatched simplicity, resiliency and scalability; With Segment Routing Flexible Algorithm, a new addition to the Cisco Segment Routing Traffic Engineering toolkit, service providers can:

  • Optimize the same physical network infrastructure along various dimensions such as low-latency, bandwidth or path disjointness. 
  • Custom fit 5G network slices to specific applications

Ethernet VPN (EVPN): Cisco is now offering seamless integration with Virtual Private LAN Service (VPLS), helping service providers speed up migration from VPLS to EVPN as another method to provide Ethernet-based multipoint to multipoint communication over IP or MPLS networks; EVPN offers improved scalability, optimal forwarding and helps prevent traffic floods.

"Cisco continues to drive innovation in service provider routing to help our customers uplevel their architectures and be one step ahead in managing their network traffic demands,” said Jonathan Davidson, senior vice president and general manager, Service Provider Networking, Cisco.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Orange and Siemens partner on Industrial IoT

Orange Business Services announced a partnership Siemens, the leading factory automation equipment provider, to drive the adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT) in the industrial sector by simplifying integration and promoting IoT innovation.

The initial focus will be to develop solutions around asset tracking and asset monitoring to optimize the supply chain and improve efficiencies, as well as to develop digitally enhanced products to increase customer satisfaction and create new business models.

Orange Business Services brings its global cellular connectivity, consulting, system integration and application development skills to the partnership. The alliance is built around Siemens’ MindSphere, the cloud-based open IoT operating system, and Datavenue, the Orange IoT and data analytics modular offering.

“We are delighted to partner with Siemens in the MindSphere Ecosystem in the industrial sector. By combining our strengths we are providing industrial enterprises with new opportunities to exploit their data and unleash the power of IoT to drive significant competitive advantage,” said Olivier Ondet, Senior Vice President, IoT and Analytics, Orange Business Services.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Orange Labs integrates Radisys' virtualized Media Resource Function into ONAP

Orange Labs Networks has integrated Radisys’ MediaEngine virtualized Media Resource Function (vMRF) in the ONAP (Open Network Automation Platform) “Amsterdam” release. This paves the way for additional VNF integrations with ONAP, accelerating commercial deployments.

The overall solution includes complete cost-effective vMRF lifecycle management of ONAP infrastructure, including elastic scaling, policy-driven controls, and zero-touch automation and management, significantly reducing time-to-market and OpEx.

“As we transform our network, we are turning to new innovative and disruptive vendors that will support our move to open source technologies like ONAP to guarantee our software independence and openness,” said Eric Debeau, Head of Network Automation Platform Team at Orange. “With its deep heritage in software, hardware and services for the telecom industry combined with its experience with ONAP, Radisys is helping drive new service creation through enabling virtualization of network services through cost-efficient design, implementation and management.”

“Our collaboration with Orange on this first demonstration of vMRF on ONAP sets the stage for operators like Orange to transform their networks with other commercial VNFs,” said Adnan Saleem, CTO Software and Cloud Solutions, MediaEngine, Radisys. “We are excited to be able to participate with Orange Labs Networks, and other service providers to not only onboard our VNFs, but also bring the expertise to onboard other VNFs and provide complete ONAP integration services to accelerate delivery of new innovative applications.”

Friday, February 23, 2018

Orange and KPN test LoRaWAN roaming

Orange and KPN have conducted roaming between their respective nationwide public IoT networks based on the latest LoRa Alliance specifications. The testing included Actility, an IoT connectivity platform supplier.

In October, the LoRa Alliance released the first version of the LoRaWAN Backend Interfaces Specification. This governs how LoRaWAN sensor data are passed between different networks to enable roaming. Based on this specification, Orange and KPN set up a secure roaming interface between their Actility network server platforms, and have successfully tested Orange devices operating on the KPN network in the Netherlands and KPN devices operating on the Orange France network.

Interoperability opens up the possibility of connecting sensors or trackers that move between countries. It also simplifies the implementation of international business applications – by removing the need to both integrate several IoT platforms and contract with multiple LoRaWAN operators – thereby reducing time to market for customers.

“This first successful LoRaWAN compliant roaming communication in the field is a critical milestone to unlock several key segments of the IoT market by removing the barrier of national borders,” says Bertrand Waels, head of Alternative Radio Access at Orange. “Our tests in an open collaboration with KPN in the Netherlands and with the support of Actility show that the specifications published by the LoRa Alliance do work reliably in the field.”

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Telefónica and Orange announce wholesale FTTH agreement

Telefónica and Orange announced a new commercial wholesale fiber agreement.

Under the arrangement, Orange will be able to access Telefonica’s FTTH network, representing an extension of the current 2016 agreement.

Telefónica and Orange reaffirmed their mutual commitment to a long-term wholesale relation in areas where Orange is not planning to deploy its own FTTH network. During next years, Orange will ensure wholesale revenues in all Telefonica’s footprint.


Monday, February 12, 2018

Orange to test 5G Fixed with Cisco and Samsung

Orange is planning to launch a 5G millimeter wave trial in the second half of 2018 in Romania. Cisco and Samsung Electronics have been selected to participate.

Orange is believed to be the first operator to conduct a multi-vendor 5G fixed wireless access (FWA) customer trial in Europe.

 Samsung will provide commercial 5G home routers (indoor and outdoor customer-premises equipment (CPE)), 5G Radio Access Units (RAN) comprised of a compact radio base station and virtualized RAN elements, as well as 5G radio frequency planning services. Cisco will supply its Cisco Ultra Gateway Platform, delivering a 5G virtual packet core on top of Cisco NFV Infrastructure. The mobile gateway will be deployed with Control and User Plane Separation (CUPS) for enhanced throughput and flexibility.

“Together with Samsung and Cisco, we are joining forces to drive the development of 5G and prepare for its progressive roll-out starting 2020,” said Arnaud Vamparys, senior vice president, Radio Networks and Microwaves, Orange. “This trial will demonstrate how FWA, NFV and multi-vendor interoperability create new opportunities and gives us flexibility to build our next-generation network as a multi-service network.”

Friday, January 5, 2018

Orange Business to support ESA's Copernicus data and information access service

Orange Business Services will deliver cloud connectivity services for the European Space Agency's (ESA's) Copernicus project, which will provide free and open access to near-real-time data, models and forecasts about our planet, harvested by a family of dedicated satellites and in-situ observations.

Orange is part of the Airbus Consortium, one of the four groups of companies selected for the Copernicus data and information access service (DIAS) project by the European Space Agency (ESA).

Specifically, Orange Business Services will provide cloud-based ICT services together with its globally operated public cloud solution, Flexible Engine, to complement Airbus’ deep aerospace expertise. The consortium led by Airbus will use the Orange Business Services globally-operated. "Flexible Engine" public cloud to meet the demands of Copernicus and ensure all its data is secure and freely available. Flexible Engine is a highly secure and reliable public cloud offering built on OpenStack technology.

“Big data analytics supported by the right cloud capabilities can help unlock the value of this data to innovate and create new business models to provide economic growth for Europe. The entire Orange team is proud to participate in a project as ambitious as Copernicus DIAS. By utilizing our know-how and public cloud solution Flexible Engine, we will offer users innovative solutions to take advantage of the big data collected by ESA,” explains Philippe Laplane, CEO of Orange Cloud for Business.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Orange and Red Hat collaborate on network virtualization

Red Hat is collaborating with Orange on open source community projects to accelerate technology innovation in network virtualization. The joint engineering program aims to deliver additional features supporting NFV into OpenStack and other open source communities.

The collaboration recently led to the integration of the OpenStack BGP VPN project and its reference implementation (BaGPipe). This would let telecom operators mutually interconnect Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) or NFV datacenters and businesses, using industry-standard routing technologies.

In addition, Orange is using Red Hat OpenStack Platform for its network functions virtualization infrastructure (NFVi) deployments as part of its network transformation strategy.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Orange sees another quarter of growth in France

Citing its second consecutive quarter of growth in France, Orange reported Q3 revenue of 10.274 billion euros, up 0.9% on a comparable basis compared to last year and in line with the first half (+1.1%). Adjusted EBITDA for the Group grew 2.1% in the third quarter of 2017 on a comparable basis, in line with the first half (+2.2%).

Stéphane Richard, Chairman and CEO of the Orange Group, commented: “This quarter demonstrates very good momentum at Orange, supported more than ever by investment in customer experience and our networks. We attracted nearly half a million mobile contract customers and 321,000 fibre customers in France and the Europe segment in the past three months. Despite new roaming regulation in Europe, we delivered revenue growth for the ninth consecutive quarter and adjusted EBITDA growth of 2.1%. Excluding regulatory changes, adjusted EBITDA rose 4.4%. "

Highlights for Q3 2017:

  • Orange France had a particularly strong third quarter in mobile, with 320,000 net additions – its best performance since 2008. 
  • Orange France is continuing to grow in fibre broadband and now reaches more than 1.8 million customers. 
  • Interconnection revenue with operators in other European countries (visitor roaming) grew but was offset by the end of roaming charges for customers traveling in Europe. 
  • Orange Europe continued to record sustained growth, driven by Spain and Central European countries. 
  • Revenue in the Africa & Middle East segment confirmed a return to solid growth, 
  • Revenue in the Enterprise segment fell 0.5% on a comparable basis. In the first nine months of 2017, revenues were 30.550 billion euros, up 1.0% (+317 million euros) on a comparable basis.
  • The Group’s capital expenditure for the first nine months of the year was 4.873 billion euros, in line with the 2017 forecast of 7.2 billion euros. 
  • CAPEX increased by 2.8% compared to the first nine months of 2016 on a comparable basis. 
  • CAPEX from telecom activities (4.836 billion euros) rose 2.0% and the ratio of CAPEX from telecom activities to revenues was 15.8%. 
  • Investments in fibre and in very high-speed mobile (4G and 4G+) rose 14.2% compared with the first nine months of 2016.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Orange collaborates with Microsoft Azure IoT

Orange Business Services announced a collaboration with Microsoft to deliver large-scale, end-to-end Internet of Things (IoT) solutions for the manufacturing sector.

Orange Business Services offers many IoT connectivity options, including LoRa. Use cases range from supply chain and smart inventory management to digital operations, such as predictive maintenance, employee safety and facility and equipment management.

The Microsoft Azure IoT Suite facilitates setting up and scaling large device and data management projects. Azure IoT Suite also provides a number of pre-packaged solutions for industrial applications.

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.

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