Our commitment to a responsible digital world was not developed overnight; it is deeply rooted in our history. 25 years on, and the Orange brand brings together 136,000 employees and invests in 26 countries, serving 287 million customers around the world. With a strong identity, unique philosophy and new purpose incorporated into its bylaws, the brand the brand has become one of the most powerful brands in the world.
First launched on 28 April 1994 in a rather more analogue world, Orange celebrated its quarter century last year, all the while staying true to its original friendly and straightforward brand values.
The story began in the UK, with benefit-led services and the ethos of putting people before technology.
This DNA has remained intact over the years, even during periods of strong growth and social development, and even following its acquisition by France Télécom in 2000.
Public service heritage
France Télécom bought Orange when the European telecoms market opened up to competition in 2000.
The Senegalese group Sonatel was founded in 1985, following the French model, at the same time as the merger of the Office des Postes et Télécommunications and Télésénégal. It was privatised in 1997 and then incorporated into France Télécom.
In France, the incumbent telecoms operator was rapidly becoming the market leader thanks to its network quality. It started to move all of its subsidiaries under the same name: Orange. At the end of 2009, Orange was present in more than 30 countries serving 123 million customers.
Then on 1 July 2013, following a vote at the Annual Shareholders’ Meeting, France Télécom also changed its name to Orange, starting a new chapter for a company whose internal culture was embedded in public service.
The name France Télécom is no longer used, but the extensive French telephone network owes a lot to its historic infrastructure, which subsequently led to mobile telephony and the dawn of a new revolution: the internet.
Digital revolution and new skills development
In a world where we’re seeing new technologies and services emerging every day, Orange continues to play an important role. Thanks to the skills of its employees and their attachment to the brand values, Orange remains committed to providing benefit-led technology.
Over time, the founding values have made their way into the corporate philosophy: Human Inside. This was created from the same vision that progress must be useful to people, and it has since guided everything we do regardless of where we are or our sector of activity. As society began to change dramatically, adopting more and more technology, the promise was incorporated into our 2015 strategic plan called Essentials 2020: which aimed to bring customers closer to what matters to them.
Proving our commitment
Keen to continue to bring our values to life while addressing today’s social challenges, Orange defined a new purpose in 2019, answering a fundamental question: what is the role that Orange should play in society?
As a trusted partner, Orange gives everyone the keys to a responsible digital world.
In May 2020, shareholders voted to include the Orange purpose in the company’s bylaws during the Annual Shareholders’ Meeting, thereby setting us on a course to building a responsible digital world. The vote was almost unanimous and garnered 99.98% approval.
Our purpose defines our long-term vision and fundamental role of our company within society. As an economic player of course, in order to create value. But also to contribute to the collective good.