Orange - Bigger, Faster, Bolder

By Isabelle Paradis
President, HOT TELECOM
April 2017

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Pierre-Louis is CEO Orange International Carriers, and the inspiration behind the group’s race towards wholesale success.

As a front-runner of wholesale innovation, Orange is accelerating its transformation, not only to support voice evolution, but more importantly to enable the growing mobile data economy through pioneering services in the payment, data and security sectors.

This article will give you a glimpse into Pierre-Louis’ vision and what, from his point of view, could empower wholesalers to triumph in years to come.

One step at a time, one challenge at a time, one opportunity at a time – running towards success.


From your point of view, which are the main trends currently shaping our industry?
There are many evolutions currently taking place that will have a great impact on operators’ business and on the telecom industry as a whole, and at Orange we are focusing to address them.

The first one is unsurprisingly IoT, with its billions of connected devices. The explosion of this new reality will not only impact our day to day lives, but also the network, services and technologies necessary to support it. Operators will have to gear up to support multiple IoT applications, each with their specificities in terms of network quality, latency and technology. This is a significant evolution from the world we have known up to now, where network connectivity was pretty standard.

From there, we are also seeing an explosion of data and the bandwidth requirements that comes with it. We are experiencing a soaring consumption of content, video, gaming, eSports and soon virtual reality. Many of these applications will require connectivity levels well above 10G, so offering scalable bandwidth will be a pre-requisite to success. But more importantly, all these applications will also require low latency to enable a high quality of experience.

So, quality will be the next big thing in connectivity, together with security obviously. We have recently seen a growing number of massive cyber-attacks, not only in Europe but also in the USA. These were simple DDoS attacks generated by connected devices, but we should expect much larger and complex attacks occurring in the near future. We are now experiencing the creation of a 4th war dimension (after terrestrial, sea and air), which is cyberspace, and telecom operators will play a central role in this new challenge.

In addition, operators are going through a power struggle with mega-OTTs who are easily impacting the lives of billions of people around the world, independently of borders. This is creating a power-shift in the telecom world that no single operator can match or tackle.

Finally, there is the evolution of mobile money, with OTTs such as WeChat with its 800 million subscribers for example, who are revolutionizing the mPayment industry. This is a field of great interest to Orange and we have been busy launching many initiatives in this field, including Orange money, Orange bank and finally Orange cash.


Should wholesalers re-think their business and if so how?
All the trends I have discussed are rapidly taking hold and we have no choice but to adapt to these new realities if we want to thrive. I think the wholesale industry realizes that it needs to evolve, but it has not taken the necessary steps to start addressing the multifaceted social and technological changes we are going through today. We are starting to see some innovation, but still mostly around voice, SMS and roaming, nothing more.

One thing that must change, is that wholesalers need to get a better understanding of the end-user beyond the operator-customer. Wholesalers should understand if the end-user is a gamer, an enterprise or a consumer for example and therefore what his or her precise requirements are. If wholesalers do not understand the needs of the end-customers they ultimately serve, they will never be able to drive the industry forward as they should.

On the contrary, until now wholesalers have followed retail operators’ lead when it comes to launching new services, but I believe this needs to change. We, as an industry, must become the front-runners of innovation and enable disruptive services on a global scale, from day one, as OTTs do. Retailers do not have that capability, as they can only innovate within their local market.

But more importantly, it is crucial that we learn to adapt to all the evolutions going on around us, otherwise we will not survive. We can continue to manage the slow death of voice or continue expanding our bandwidth, and this can continue for a while. But if we don’t elevate ourselves to the next level (for example by supporting IoT, payments, security), we will leave the door open for OTTs to increasingly control end-users and their communication experience.

At the end of the day, we must have the courage of our convictions, we must start taking risks and must re-think our business to not only survive but to triumph.


What is your future vision for Orange’s strategic evolution?
Orange’s international carriers group has three main strategic axes: supporting the evolution of voice, enabling the explosion of data and growing our capabilities around mobile value added services.

Our strategic vision starts with the continued support of voice and its evolution through VoLTE. We are looking to extract the maximum value possible to maintain our position as one of the market leaders. This will be achieved partly by continuing to support and capitalize on the Orange African and European footprint.

The second key strategy revolves around the transport of data, with the aim of transforming our data transit network into a high quality intelligent content delivery network. Our main objective here is to adapt our network to the end-users’ specific requirements, while supporting the continued explosion of bandwidth demand.

Our third strategic axis is the enablement of mobile value added services, such as IoT, payments and RCS, so we can integrate ourselves in the mobile value chain. Finally, we will continue to reinforce each of our product lines with security, by creating a portfolio of services which focuses on protecting again cybercriminals and fraud.

Each building block helps us to address our new reality to be bigger, faster, bolder.

About the Author:

Isabelle Paradis

Isabelle Paradis, President of HOT TELECOM is an international telecoms expert, with over 23 years working experience in the Americas, Europe, Asia and Africa.

HOT TELECOM has been serving global operators, governments, equipment vendors and telecom investors for over 13 years, providing leading edge market research and consulting services to industry leaders around the globe.

For more information on our HOT INTERVIEWS program, please contact Isabelle Paradis at: or at +1 514 270 1636