magazine histoire

From Graham Bell to AI, the epic tale of telecoms

Orange today has more than 145,000 employees, a strong brand in 27 countries, presence in more than 220 countries and territories and 253 million customers worldwide. What gives us our identity is our Human Inside philosophy and also a rich and diverse history that helps to explain our evolution.

More than a telecoms operator, we’ve become a major player in many fields of digital innovation, which enables us to support our customers and continue to meet the major societal challenges experienced along the way. Looking back over more than a century, the Orange story is filled with innovations that have always focused on helping as many people as possible.

Relive the 150-year history of telecoms

Telegraph, text or virtual assistant, the world of telecoms has revolutionised how we talk. Here’s a recap on the key milestones that have shaped our story.

Story of a unique ecosystem

The telecoms sector occupies a unique position in the history of women’s work

Line Pelissier

To celebrate this road travelled over more than a century, Line Pélissier, Director of Career Paths and Recognition within Orange Group HR, speaks about the importance of diversity in the workplace as well as Orange’s approach to professional equality. 

Read the interview


The acceleration of internet uses is dizzying. Telecoms operators are facilitating this exponential growth thanks to the performance and agility of their data networks. These links travel over land, through the air and under the sea so people can access ever more information and communicate all around the world.

New territories for Orange

Orange has continued to evolve since the early days of fixed and mobile telephony in order to meet the new uses of our connected world. Why is the Group present in the fields of film or music? Why is it exploring domains as broad as banking or cyber security? Discover the new territories that Orange is entering.

The entertainment industry

If Orange is involved in the entertainment industry with the leading media companies, it’s to bring TV, film, series, music and video games to life. Our Group invests in content to distribute it to as many people as possible through our powerful networks. We also stage this content in an ever more innovative way. Virtual and augmented reality, immersive experiences, eSports and live streaming are all reinventing entertainment, as they play out against the backdrop of our Group’s strength in innovation.

The mobile finance industry

Encouraged by new mobile uses and consumer needs, financial services are also benefiting from advances in technology. If Orange is using its network and innovation capability to develop mobile banking, it’s because our Group is considered a trusted player, building close relationships with customers. We can also hold this position thanks to 10 years of experience in Africa, where 80 million customers in 17 countries can access simple and secure financial services thanks to Orange. 

Digital services are profoundly changing banking habits around the world. Neo-banks are attracting more and more customers of all generations.

The cyber security industry

Our Group’s expertise in securing networks and data positions us as a credible player in the cyber security industry. As a partner for business digital transformation, Orange is also an expert when it comes to data integrity. What’s more, since 2016, our Orange Cyberdefense subsidiary supports companies and professionals in their strategy to protect and defend their information systems.

Health, education, energy

Although it might look like a scattered approach, for Orange it is about promoting synergies between networks, new information technologies and the close relationships the Group has with more than 287,000 customers around the world. Orange firmly believes that digital innovation should enable progress for individuals and society as a whole, and this commitment is at the heart of its diversification choices.

The Group, as an infrastructure operator, technology integrator and value-added service provider, is also developing digital healthcare solutions. Its subsidiary Orange Healthcare supports the health sector and its digital transformation. By working closely with start-ups and associations, the Group is also committed to developing preventative awareness and connected medicine, especially on the African continent where mobile telephony is essential and where digital is a lever for inclusion.

Because the internet makes schooling and knowledge more accessible and efficient, the Group is also committed to ensuring online learning resources for everyone. More than 500 Digital Schools from the Orange Foundation welcome children from disadvantaged backgrounds across Africa and Jordan. The Orange Foundation has translated all of the Khan Academy’s courses so they’re accessible via a mobile. Easy access to culture has also become a reality through the Orange Foundation’s MOOCs (Massive Online Open Courses, which are free for anyone to join). Since 2014, more than 100,000 people have enrolled in six MOOCs co-produced with leading museums. 
Digital technology can also help to combat student dropout and failure. In this spirit, and also to anticipate what schools might need in the future, the Group also offers “Ecole numérique” in France, a suite of tools and services to help pupils from primary school to sixth form.

Always driven by the belief that any technology has to have people’s essential needs in mind, Orange also makes solar power accessible in rural areas in Africa, where electrification is a priority. Orange’s ambition to provide vital services to African populations, such as sustainable energy, was reinforced this year through the launch of solar kits, helping to make Orange a key player in the continent’s energy transition.