Orange's positions

Orange is active in many topic areas reflecting the considerable variety of business activitites and locations within our footprint. Included here are a selection of up-to-date breifings for policy makers and the public.

Orange's positions

In September 2016, the European Commission published its proposal for a directive establishing the European Electronic Communications Code. This new legal framework is of utmost importance for Orange and the future of connectivity in Europe. On this webpage, you will find our positions regarding several aspects of the Code: its objectives, access, spectrum, and services.

The electronic communications sector is regulated by a set of rules which is not limited to the EECC. On this webpage, you will find our positions regarding topics related to the network policy.

Cybersecurity is crucial as we rely more and more on digital technologies and we are subject to more frequent and widespread cyber-attacks. The EU is striving to better protect itself against cyber threats, to increase cybersecurity capabilities and to engage the necessary resources to achieve this. Orange, and its entity Orange Cyberdefense, share the belief that the digital ecosystem cannot keep on growing without the guarantee of a secure and safe network for its users.

One of the cornerstones of achieving the Digital Single Market is ensuring data protection, privacy and trust. The EU has laid the foundations of its personal data protection framework and will continue to further enhance privacy and trust in particular in ensuring the confidentiality of communications. Orange welcomes the move toward a more consistent privacy regime. However, the EU must remain vigilant so as not to hinder innovation and the evolution of the data economy.

Data is the oil of tomorrow. The Internet of Things and data-driven services are going to transform our societies and economies. The European Commission unveiled several proposals to address the existing legal and technical barriers to the free movement of data, and in particular, to non-personal data. Further initiatives are likely to follow. Orange, along with stakeholders, seeks to contribute to these efforts to make the EU fit for the digital age.

The European industry is facing many challenges at both European and global levels. To reinforce its competitive advantage, the EU will need to make unprecedented efforts to modernise. In September 2017, the European Commission unveiled its Industrial Policy Strategy  “Investing in a smart, innovative and sustainable industry”. Orange, and the telecoms sector, will play a vital role in this modernisation as major contributor to the evolution of the digital ecosystem.

Standards reflect a consensus, among interested parties, about the main features of a product or service. Standardisation enables technical compatibility from end to end which integrates the best in class technologies from multiple actors both small and large actors. Standards will facilitate open and interoperable products and services for end-users. Standardisation is the cornerstone of the DSM and ongoing discussions should ensure a balanced ecosystem for both contributors and implementers of standards.

The term ‘5G’ describes a range of technical advances designed for mobile networks so they can carry more data, at greater speeds, with very high reliability while connecting myriads of devices. The ‘Internet of things’ and other emerging services will place huge demands on networks. 5G will also allow for cost-effectiveness, reliability, efficiency and security that are well beyond the means of current mobile networks. Orange will be a key player in 5G, the mobile revolution of tomorrow.

The Internet of things describes a world where devices of many sorts connect wirelessly. Data collected may be processed to develop new solutions within specific industry verticals, such as connected cars, smart cities, etc. The IoT represents a great opportunity for the European industry to reduce costs and develop new business cases.  Orange is working to create an entire ecosystem focusing on open innovation while ensuring data security and guaranteeing privacy.

Cloud systems offer improved access to data and software for users. Anyone with a suitable connectivity can reach their data and programmes from multiple screens or devices. A wider adoption of cloud services would contribute to the digitalisation of the EU economy and also stimulate the development of flexible B2B solutions. It allows enterprises to achieve economies of scale. Orange will continue to develop and drive adoption of cloud services with the help of an EU regulatory-friendly environment.

Assessing to what extent artificial intelligence (AI) will disrupt our economic model is difficult. This technology is a tremendous opportunity but raised also many questions. Europe should develop an industrial vision of AI, and at its heart, is the need to promote investments and innovations in a responsible AI ecosystem. Over the last ten years, Orange, and its R&D department Orange Labs Research, relies on AI to improve and deploy its services or better manage the customer experience. Orange is committed to engage with the EU institutions to build a fostering competitive, responsible AI.

The EU sees digital innovation as an opportunity to foster growth and create new jobs. Overseas players paved the way with social networking and digital entertainment and now the European tech ecosystem is in a position to challenge them.  Among key players of this ecosystem are start-ups which must be accompanied to scale up. This is where the Orange Fab Programme and the Orange Digital Ventures come into play and where the EU can ensure regulatory and financial support.

Adequate digital skills are a key driver for Europe to adopt digital technologies, but also to regain its edge in a highly competitive world. Orange is convinced that empowering European citizens with skills that could accelerate the digitalization of the economy but also help to face its many new challenges would not only create a lot of jobs but also foster the blossoming of a whole ecosystem of digital creation and innovation.

Intermediaries play a significant role in the digital economy. It refers to a large scope of activities ranging from an internet access service provider, an online marketplace, a web hosting provider, a social media or a search engine. Since quite recently, the question of whether online platforms could be potentially regulated has been raised in the light of  unfair trading practices, distortions in competition, concerns over enforcement of IPR and illegal content, and unsatisfactory redress mechanisms. While not undermining the emergence of the digital economy, the European Commission intends to present several initiatives to look into the role and responsibilities of online intermediaries.

Audiovisual content is the lifeblood of the internet. New content and audiovisual materials are continuously emerging. Hence we need to strike a fair balance between the freedom to access all this content and solid safeguards for creative talents to produce more quality content. We also need to be able to protect users – in particular young ones - from harmful content. Orange, as both a producer and distributor, is at the forefront of these discussions.

By enabling information availability to consumers as well as to businesses, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) improves economic productivity and lowers the costs of market participation. In Africa, Internet and mobile telephony meet basic needs for a population that lives in remote rural areas, sometimes poorly equipped in infrastructure. These technologies can provide essential tools for improving people's everyday lives, in agriculture, healthcare or even banking services.

Adopting a circular economy means shifting away from a linear production model, where raw materials are extracted to support production for consumption, which generates waste, and moving towards a "circular" model. Adapting our business models and processes to prioritise the re-use of materials already within products is key. Orange is embracing the EU’s circular economy strategy with targets to be achieved through its Strategy Essentiels 2020.

The advent of the digital economy brings new business models and new ways to create profits which do not always fit with traditional corporate tax rules. It can lead to tax asymmetries between digital players and more traditional companies which have a physical presence in a country. The Commission’s initiative on digital taxation will address the concerns to sustain public budget and prevent competition distortions to the benefit of society as a whole.

On May 6th 2015, the European Commission published its Digital Single Market strategy (also referred to as ‘DSM’).

This strategy is critical to restore growth, competitiveness and create jobs in the EU. Digital issues must be at the heart of EU action and the DSM strategy embodies the Commission’s focus towards these goals.

The position of the European digital industry on global markets is under great pressure. It is urgent to support its competitiveness, which depends on a deep reform of European policies.

Orange shares the Commission’s analysis on many topics, for instance with regards to the telecom review or to steps towards an efficient and harmonized spectrum management framework. With clear-cut policy orientations, the European Commission can greatly enhance trustin Europe’s digital future, from operators as well as from investors. Indeed, this trust is a pre-requisite that comes even before the implementation of profoundstructural reforms, which are sorely needed but will take much more time.

Orange urges the European Commission to set ambitions that can match the current stakes that : increase the level of investment in infrastructures, review the telecom regulation into a framework that would ensure a level playing field for all digital services. In this respect, the EC Communication on the DSM Strategy defines interesting guidance on spectrum and regulatory playing field in the digital value chain.

This section covers Orange views on the European public policies and regulatory initiatives that may impact the provision of internet and online content services applying to internet companies and telecom operators.

The globalization of the internet has led to unprecedented digital growth: internet services based on new business models are competing with traditional businesses. The old rules are no longer adequate and yet still apply, while new issues are not addressed and require action. In addition, the rules differ for the same kinds of service, based only on differences in the underlying technologies.

It is therefore necessary to review and modernize the regulatory framework. Orange has developed a full set of proposals aiming at effective consumer protection, supporting the defence of public interests and promoting fair competition.

This wide range of regulatory issues is addressed in the following position papers:

  • Telecom framework
  • Net neutrality
  • Content and services
  • The Internet of Things
  • Big data
  • Privacy
  • Security

Orange's positions

Rules imposed to telecom operators have been fixed in 2002 and revised in 2009. The Commission asks whether they should be changed in a public consultation consisting of 218 questions allocated in 6 chapters.

The first chapter concerns the rationale and objectives of the regulatory framework which in Orange’s views, should be rethought. The current framework aimed at the transition from monopoly to competition. This is over. Today, the framework should support competition, but as a priority it should aim at maximizing the contribution of telecoms to the development of Europe’s economy, mainly through continuous investments in better networks diffusing technical progress.

Chapter 2 is about access obligations imposed to network operators holding Significant Market Power. Orange’s view is that these rules must be deeply reoriented and simplified.

  • they should only concern fixed access infrastructures which are the only remaining bottleneck, and apply only where there are less than 3 competitors,
  • where they subsist, they should apply symmetrically to all infrastructure owners, telcos, cablecos and local infrastructures operators,
  • they must stay investment friendly. The right to get access should not go without the obligation to share the risk of investment in fixed infrastructure.

Chapter 3 is about the allocation of radio frequencies necessary for mobile services. The main question is whether spectrum allocation should be done at European level. Orange considers that rules for spectrum allocation should be European and binding for Member States, but implementation should stay national for the time being. Allocation at European level would be premature considering the state of markets. Spectrum allocation should follow market needs and not serve as an instrument for market design by public authorities.

Chapter 4 concerns regulation of communication services in a context where telecom services and on-line services provided over the internet come together from users’ point of view, while subject to dissimilar regulatory obligations. Orange’s view is that telecom rules should not be extended to on-line services. On the contrary, telecom rules should be focused of the protection of end-users of Internet Access Service (IAS) and on the enforcement of obligations associated to the use of telephone numbers irrespectively of the service provider. All other services provided by telecom operators should be subject to the horizontal regulation which similarly applies to on-line services.

Chapter 5 concerns coverage and universal service issues. Orange supports the political objective of universal coverage of Internet Access Services. Member States can achieve this objective with a mix of pro-investment regulation to encourage a competition driven coverage by market players, public support of demand for high speed connectivity through public procurement or tax benefit and public funding for the extra cost of passive infrastructure in remote areas.

Chapter 6 concerns institutions. Should there be a European regulator? Orange’s view is that to achieve consistent regulation in the EU, the priority is to reduce regulation hence providing less room for fragmentation. Full harmonization should be chosen for the remaining rules and regulations should be preferred to directives. Only once a limited set of strong European rules are enforced, the issue of a European regulator may be considered.

The Commission sets new European ambitions in the digital field.

6 May 2015: the European Commission publishes its strategy for a Digital Single Market in Europe. This strategy is based on 3 pillars:

  • A better access to digital services for individuals and businesses throughout Europ
  • Better conditions for the development of networks and services, with a revised regulatory framework to foster infrastructure investment and innovation
  • A digital economy to drive the European growth.

Each pillar is developed into various measures, with a total of 16 actions towards the objectives.

Committed to Europe, Orange will actively contribute to the targets underlying the Digital Single Market, that include the deployment of high performance infrastructures and the restoration of trust in the digital economy. In doing so, Orange is also an active participant of ongoing debates for the elaboration process of digital policies.

Committed to Europe, Orange is an active contributor to ongoing debates for the elaboration process of digital policies towards European objectives such as the completion of the DSM, the roll out of infrastructures and the consolidation of trust in the digital economy.

May 6, 2015: Orange welcomes the Commission’s approach in its digital single market strategy for Europe. Restoring growth, competitiveness and employment is possible only if digital becomes a priority, at the heart of the EU agenda.

Orange’s vision regarding the DSM strategy is being developed through the material on this site but is also voicedthrough the ETNO and GSMA associations.

20 March 2015: Orange shares the general conclusion of the consultation conducted by the Swedish government: common rules can help restore growth in Europe.  Orange is convinced that a European framework is needed to ensure growth and a better economic balance for the benefits of both consumers and businesses.

24 February 2015: Contribution to the #Digital4EU initiative

In this forum set up by the European Commission, stakeholders were asked to provide inputs through posts published on a dedicated platform.

Orange provided inputs on 5 topics: what to expect from the DSM strategy; which framework for digital services; how to foster investment in infrastructures; which ecosystem for innovation; and which demand stimulus plans for the adoption of services and the roll out of networks. In the section on available data sets, Orange formulates 4 proposals:  demand evaluation for converged fixed-mobile offers and the cost of change, financial grants for NGA networks: supply or demand-oriented? ; digital services regulation and proposals for a reform.

The industry’s viewpoints

As a telecom operator, Orange feeds the public debate with insights as a fixed line incumbent operator within ETNO, and as a mobile operator within the GSMA. These associations take an active part to the European debate, either by responding to consultations or providing inputs during the legislative process.

  1. GSMA [EN]
  2. European Telecommunications Network Operators' Association (etno) [EN]