Published on 15 March 2019

Digital and how it empowers people

Discover how, throughout its history and evolution – Orange has contributed to a more inclusive and trustworthy digital society. In his book Human Web – Working to Connect Humankind, Orange CEO Stéphane Richard says: “digital must serve people, and not the reverse”.


History has proven to everyone that the telecoms sector is good at reinventing itself to meet the needs of an ever-changing world. Over the past 150 years, telecoms operators have played their part in meeting some of society’s greatest challenges: from Graham Bell inventing the first telephone to Artificial Intelligence, not to mention the explosion of the Internet and IoT. These technological advances must be harnessed to ensure progress for everyone.


Orange today: the result of a long history, which has always placed people at the heart of what we do.

The Group combines the capabilities of its 28 subsidiaries and presence in more than 220 countries and territories to offer essential digital services that make life easier for everyone. Orange objective: that everyone – citizens, administrations and companies – makes the most of the latest technology.



The Internet gives each person the opportunity to take control of their own fate (…) develop their potential, and ultimately have greater autonomy and more control over their own lives.

Stéphane Richard, Human Web – Working to Connect Humankind



To do this, Orange offers the best-performing fixed and mobile connectivity to 264 million customers worldwide. 

In our hyper-connected world, where submarine cables provide 99% of international traffic, Orange relies on more than 450,000km undersea highways to meet our growing digital needs. The company’s contribution to new maritime routes is ensuring greater digital inclusion for territories previously cut off from global Internet connectivity. For example, Orange has funded and deployed the Kanawa submarine cable to improve digital inclusion in Guyana. + vidéo

In France, more than 21 million customers trust the Orange network to connect to their loved ones and the world around them, ranking it n°1 for the past eight years. Fibre will help support the explosion of new ways in which people and businesses use the Internet, making it a “new sphere that promotes growth and efficiency.”Fibre deployment is a strong commitment illustrated by our considerable investments in terms of financial and human resources. 

Orange has deployed 2G/3G networks in 19 African countries. 16.7 customers can now access 4G in 15 countries, paving the way to new applications relevant to local issues. Orange Money, for example, enables people who previously had no access to a bank account to complete financial transactions using their mobile.


Orange’s core business in no longer just connectivity.


Connecting the majority of the world’s population to the Internet would significantly boost development. It would lead to improvements in health, literacy and levels of education. It would stimulate the economy and result in a better alignment between supply and demand in the labour market.

Stéphane Richard, Human Web – Working to Connect Humankind



The Group actively listens to customers around the world to stay close to their needs, and this has enabled it to identify new fields of diversification that can be combined with the power of its networks, such as banking, finance, entertainment content, cybersecurity, education and energy.  Always seeking to ensure meaningful progress for everyone, opportunities for new areas of diversification are accelerating considerably thanks to 5G, which Orange is working towards launching gradually from 2020. 


Orange’s challenge is to create the conditions for a digital society that we can all trust in. 


Operators have a particular role to play in defending freedom of expression and ensuring privacy is respected (…) Trust remains essential to the development of digital technology and the online world.

Stéphane Richard, Human Web - Working to Connect Humankind



Orange’s business activities, combined with its innovation capability, will therefore always be built around inclusion, security and data protection, to help create a digital world everyone can trust in.

*Extracts from “Human Web – Working to Connect Humankind”, Débats Public, Maison d’édition et de débats (September 2018).

Human Web