Orange Group has published its new five-year strategic plan, dubbed Engage 2025, with group chairman and CEO Stephane Richard describing the programme as ‘the most significant transformational change the company has undertaken in recent years.’ The new strategic plan is aimed at reinventing Orange’s operator model, accelerating its development in three areas of growth (Africa and the Middle East [AMEA], B2B services and financial services) and attaining a new level in its digital transformation by positioning AI and data at the heart of its innovation model. In order to secure its objectives, Orange will pursue operational efficiency programmes and aims to achieve net savings of EUR1 billion (USD1.1 billion) by 2023.
To reinvent its model, Orange said it will optimise, develop and derive greater value from its infrastructure, whilst still retaining control of it. To optimise the deployment of its mobile infrastructure, particularly 5G, in terms of pace, coverage and financial capacity, Orange will rely on RAN-sharing agreements, whilst maintaining areas of differentiation. The company said that this was the impetus for the existing agreements in Poland and Romania and those signed in recent months in Spain and Belgium.
Alongside this, to derive higher value from its portfolio of 40,000 mobile towers in Europe, Orange will create TowerCos in most of its European countries to manage the mobile tower infrastructure. Orange will retain control of these entities in all the European countries where they are created. The first projects will start in 2020 in France and Spain. To that end, Orange has announced the disposal of 1,500 non-strategic sites in Spain to Cellnex for EUR260 million. Eventually, the consolidation of all or part of these local TowerCos into a European TowerCo (in which Orange will retain majority control) will be considered.
For its fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) infrastructure, Orange will continue to invest on its own in order to fulfil its commitments in medium-density areas in France. However, to continue its industrial efforts in some areas (whilst controlling its CAPEX), Orange could team up with partners. This is the objective of a project to create a subsidiary in France from 2020 – Orange Concessions – which will cover the four million Public Initiative Network (PIN) connections belonging to local authorities and for which Orange is the concession holder. In Spain and Poland, Orange also plans to share future FTTH deployments with other operators via FiberCos, potentially involving third parties. Orange is planning to offer FTTH to more than 65 million households in Europe by 2023 via its own infrastructure and the use of third-party networks.
Regarding its copper network, the operator said that copper decommissioning will start in 2023 after an initial experimental phase, and should end in 2030.