Orange networks

Press kit
February 2017


Networks: the foundation of the digital revolution

Because it has changed our behaviour, become hugely accessible across societies and enriched our imagination, the digital revolution is profoundly changing our world. Of course, it has also created new expectations, like the need for connectivity.
This is the most obvious aspect of the digital revolution: the way that networks enable us to communicate instantaneously with everyone, anytime and anywhere, to send and receive information, and increasingly access all of our services, applications and content at all times. The challenge is no longer just offering a powerful network and a "ready connection" for everyone. Instead, we need to offer services that take into account the unique reality of each individual's digital life.

These new usages are putting increasing demands on networks

The explosion of online videos and increasing demand for content:

The boom in corporate requirements

Companies rely on increasingly high-performance and flexible networks to meet their needs for mobility and hyperconnectivity, the increasing numbers of mobile devices, the use of collaborative solutions like video conferencing, instant messaging and social media, and the boom of big data and connected objects. The transition to the Cloud is pushing businesses to overhaul the way they manage their IT resources and network infrastructure.

The Internet of Things is a game-changer

We are now dealing with a new wave: the emergence of connected devices which are close to becoming a huge part of our lives. According to Gartner, the global market for the Internet of Things is expected to virtually double by 2020, to reach $1,100 billion. Connected objects will pave the way for new services in areas like healthcare and well-being, home services, safety, and transportation. In 2023, there will be 420 million connected cars on the roads (IDATE) and the global healthcare sector will be using 847 million connected devices.

New convergent deployments in Spain, Poland, Belgium, Romania and Moldova

Orange provides ultra-high speed networks with 4G and FTTH (Fibre to the Home) in Europe, and continually upgrades them to make fixed-mobile convergence possible. In Spain, Orange is continuing to develop its FTTH network following its 2015 acquisition of Jazztel and July 2016 co-investment agreement with MasMovil. In Poland, Orange started rolling out its own fibre network in 2015. In Belgium, a country with a strong cable presence where the regulator has decided to regulate these networks, Orange uses cable. In Romania, Orange approaches homes a bit differently, with a TV offer available via satellite or using another operator's FTTH network. In Moldova, Orange's acquisition of Sun Communications on 18 October 2016 will enable it to provide high-speed convergent offers.

Africa and the Middle East: the mobile revolution

In Africa and the Middle East, mobile phones are at the centre of daily life: making calls, making payments or sending money, texting, accessing the internet for example. Over 60% of internet connections in Africa are from a mobile phone, and according to a study by the Deloitte Africa consultancy the continent's mobile internet penetration rate should double to nearly 40% by 2020. Orange is deploying 4G throughout its footprint, and continues to invest massively in rural coverage and increasing speeds.

People want to be able to access Facebook, YouTube, and the vast range of video and TV content... However, the areas where content is produced are not easily delivered to those where it is consumed, which raises the issue of international access to content or services globally. Orange is continuing to develop its networks, and is constantly working on submarine cables (new projects and increased capacities) and infrastructure deployments (data centers, backbones, etc.) in order to host and carry services and content locally and regionally.

The network: the cornerstone of customer experience

Our customers see connectivity as a priority, allowing them to make and receive calls, SMS or photos or view films, play online, use the cloud or discover virtual reality : all activities which require increased speeds and optimum quality of service.
Orange relies on its ultra-high speed network, which includes 18,000 km of fibre optic cable in France and worldwide (Europe, US and Singapore). It supports all of the networks in France including its: fixed and mobile services, corporate services, data centres and specific projects, amongst others. To do this, we are improving the quality of our networks on a daily basis: installing additional antennas, deploying fibre optic in towns, between countries and to the sea, through the installation IP routers and call and data exchange management equipment, and the resources required to supervise these networks.

For optimum quality of service

A personalised experience on our networks

Orange’s objective in terms of connectivity is not only to offer an optimum network experience, but also to make our customers aware of this quality of service. Efforts to promote the network were implemented as part of the Essentials2020 programme.
Orange now takes an individualised approach to the network quality it provides for each customer. To that end, it deployed a Customer Experience Management (CEM) tool in France, Spain, Mali and also Cameroon in 2015. It is used to measure the quality of service experienced by individual customers in real time. This makes it possible to identify difficulties when they occur and accurately target priority areas for progress and investments and the needs of each person.

The network and the customer experience in France

The latest figures are available
on our website at:

Orange France, the top operator for voice quality of service

Improve the network where customers need it most
In July 2016, ARCEP revealed the results of its annual survey on the quality of voice and data services offered by mobile network operators in Metropolitan France. For the 6th consecutive year, the Orange France mobile network has obtained top results. Thanks to the expertise of its teams and the quality of its mobile network, Orange offers the best experience to its customers.
Regarding Voice and SMS services, Orange was voted first or joint first for 132 out of 135 assessed criteria.


Orange France is number one for speed performance

The perceived quality of data and internet access services is determined by data network coverage and its performance.
In the July 2016 ARCEP report, Orange was ranked first or joint first on 195 out of 200 assessed criteria for data services. The Orange France mobile network is notably distinguished by the speeds obtained. It was ranked number one for average file download speed with 48 Mbit/s in populated areas and mobile internet browsing on the go (TGV, major lines, daily trains and motorways). Orange customers have confirmed that they reach these speeds.

Orange boosts coverage for everyone

The Orange teams continue to work to improve the network where customers need it most: workplaces inside buildings, on roads, in rural areas, on beaches and in ski resorts. Providing phone service inside certain buildings can also be a serious technical challenge. The diversity of facilities and building environmental standards are some of the factors which can prevent mobile phone use inside buildings. To deal with this problem, Orange offers a range of products to create optimised and dedicated mobile network coverage.
Orange has started a program to improve coverage on France's motorways and is supporting the French government's "Zones Blanches" programme, which aims to eliminate dead zones. As a result, all French town centres will benefit from voice and data mobile service coverage (3G).

Improving urban coverage

In 2015, many Orange countries defined their priorities and drew up action plans. France's plan, entitled "ma ville sans coupure" aims to essentially eliminate dropped calls in urban areas.

Orange Business Services, a world leader in network services

Connectivity is a "must have" for companies. Orange Business Services (OBS), with its 21,000 employees worldwide, brings together all of the Group's corporate services. It is constantly upgrading its networks to support companies in their digital transformation, and uses the rich networks deployed by the Group (fibre, 4G, Wi-Fi, Software Defined Networking) to carry all of its customers' voice and data communications reliably and securely, with high-performance.
OBS offers connectivity services in 220 countries and territories. No matter what the company's set-up, from SMEs to multi-nationals, on one site or multiple sites, in France or worldwide, OBS offers companies fixed and mobile Internet and hybrid connectivity solutions so they can boost their productivity and increase their flexibility thanks to secure, high-performance networks available 24/7.

A smart application for a seamless network

The My Livebox application helps manage equipment and internet access, programme Wi-Fi timetables and provide assistance if there are problems. It indicates internet login details, line speeds, IP addresses for example. You can also use it to share the Wi-Fi key to access the Livebox.
It helps verify that Internet, TV and online telephone services are working correctly and, if needed, helps users repair them without technical knowledge. If required, the application puts the user in contact with customer services, who automatically receive details of the situation to enable them to deal with the problem more faster. For Android smartphones, the My Livebox application is a home-based Wi-Fi network diagnosis and optimisation tool. If this is not sufficient, the application makes recommendations for accessories to maximise coverage (such as Wi-Fi repeaters to install in certain rooms).

Securing and supervising our networks

Guaranteeing end-to-end connectivity

Securing networks is linked to the upstream architecture of these networks as well as daily maintenance services to offer customers optimal connectivity everywhere for the long-term. Equipment and links are frequently doubled to guarantee service continuity in case of a breakdown. This also means performing preventive maintenance on the network (e.g. maintaining undersea cable, replacing back-up batteries) as well as corrective maintenance (e.g. repairing a damaged cable). In order to ensure international connectivity and maintain service quality as traffic increases, Orange continues to develop its networks and deploys new technologies such as the CDN (Content delivery network).

Ongoing attention

The Group also uses Technical Management Centres to guarantee the quality of its networks. These centres are control towers which provide network supervision and quality monitoring 24/7 using a technical interface with all of the links in the chain, including call centres, distribution networks, partners and suppliers, etc. The objective is to detect breakdowns, provide a precise diagnosis of malfunctions, and restore service as quickly as possible. These supervision centres make daily contributions to Orange’s ambition: guaranteeing its customers high-quality networks and service continuity. Various real-world tests are also carried out regularly in all countries to measure mobile network performance and take corrective measures if needed.

To take network supervision efficiency a step further, project ANO (AMEA Networks Optimization) defined and implemented a centralised structure to supervise and operate the networks of 10 subsidiaries in the region. The two GNOC (Global Network Operations Center) locations in Dakar and Abidjan opened in December 2016.

For Multinational Corporate customers, network solution supervision and maintenance are handled by Orange's Customer Service & Operations Division (CSO), which operates worldwide. CSO uses structures based on standardised processes and tools:

Expertise in protection against cyberattacks

The final key element of connectivity is: security to ensure that customers are protected against cyberattacks. With the growing number of cyberthreats, which are increasingly targeted, security has become a major issue for all companies.

Cybersecurity is a key element in all areas of the digital transformation, securing work stations, mobile handsets and applications available to the company’s employees, its industrial processes, connected devices, and cloud infrastructure.

Since January 2016, all of the security expertise at OBS has been channelled into Orange Cyberdefense. This entity helps companies in all areas of security by offering managed, integrated and hybrid services, including security strategy design, implementation and operational management.

As a solutions integrator, Orange Cyberdefense provides customers with packaged services or solutions tailored to their individual needs.

Investments in 4G and fibre networks: a priority

Orange's vision of innovation is clear: designing robust networks and rolling them out everywhere the Group operates to satisfy customers by anticipating their needs and expectations. These investments are carefully targeted, with clear priority given to ultra-high speed fixed and mobile networks in order to accommodate the rapid increases in volumes and meet customer expectations while developing less energy-intensive networks. To achieve that ambition, the Group has agreed to invest over 15 billion euros in its networks between 2015 and 2018, including 4.5 billion in FTTH and 5 billion in mobile. Orange also aims to triple its customers' average data speeds on fixed and mobile networks between 2014 and end 2018.

Ultra-high speed fixed network: strong fibre progression in Europe

In Spain, the Group has considerably extended its fibre network with 9.6 million connectible homes as of 31 December 2016, following the acquisition of Jazztel in 2015 and the joint investment agreement with MasMovil in July 2016, establishing the second largest fixed high-speed network. Orange’s aim in Spain is to reach 14 million connected homes by the end of 2019. This extension will also help strengthen the fixed-mobile convergence strategy in the country, doubling the convergent revenue by 2018.
In Poland, Orange Polska has started the deployment of its FTTH network in 2015 and has 1.5 million homes eligible for connection (x 2.1 in one year) as of 31 December 2016. The aim is to reach 3.4 million homes by 2018.

As of 31 December 2016, Orange Belgium already has 33,000 customers for its new convergent offers which use regulated access to networks cabled and launched in March 2016.

Orange has been a dedicated fibre optic player (FTTO: Fibre To The Office) for French companies for 15 years. This technology is available as a standard offer in 6,267 municipalities in France, and on request outside those areas. 32,000 companies already use these services.

Ultra-high speed mobile networks: a 4G coverage rate over 98% in Europe by 2018

The development of ultra-high speed mobile involves all of the regions where the Group operates. This increase is due to the extension of high speed coverage, with the objective of a 4G coverage rate of over 95% in Europe by 2018 in order to address customers' concerns about network quality, particularly when moving around within a building, thanks to the frequency portfolio. Belgium and Poland had already exceeded this objective by end 2016, with coverage rates of 98% and 99% of the population, respectively.

Improved coverage of dead zones

In a regulatory sense, a dead zone is an area where the town centre (and a 500m perimeter around it) is not covered outdoors by any of the four main mobile network operators. On 6 August 2015, the Macron law was issued by the French President, intending to finalise previous national town centre coverage programmes but also to supplement them by adding town centres which had not been part of it previously, as well as former town centres for the first time.


As part of this, the top operators - including Orange - entered into an agreement aiming to:

Significant investments to strengthen the quality of service in France and in Europe

In November 2015, Orange obtained two 5MHz frequency blocks (i.e. 10MHz in total) in France at the end of an auction process for 700MHz frequencies, for a total sum of €954 million. This will enable Orange to offer better quality of service, particularly inside buildings and in rural areas, and to prepare for the introduction of 5G technology, making Orange the only French operator to own 30 MHz in low frequencies.

In Poland, Orange Polska has also won auctions to acquire two frequency blocks on the 800MHz band and three others on the 2,600MHz band for the total amount of around €700 million. In addition, the deployment of 4G+, which provides speeds which are twice as fast as 4G, is continuing in Europe.

Orange continues to deploy the 4G/4G+ networks in the European countries where it operates. For example, in Autumn 2015, Orange Spain commercially launched LTE-Advanced, which supports speeds of up to 336 Mb/s. In Romania, where Orange is rolling out 4G+, the agreement signed with Telekom Romania in late 2015 for use of its fibre network in urban areas provides access to 20 million connectible homes, enabling the launch of convergent offers.

3G and 4G deployed in Africa and the Middle East

Mobile 3G is deployed in all of the African and Middle Eastern countries where Orange operates, and 4G is now available in Botswana, the Ivory Coast, Guinea Bissau, Jordan, Liberia, Morocco, Mauritius, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Senegal and Tunisia. 4G should become available in several additional countries in 2017. The Group continues to invest strongly in local coverage with specific efforts made in continuing to deploy high speed networks. In 2015, Orange also obtained new frequencies in Cameroon and the Ivory Coast, completed acquisition of 4G licenses in Tunisia, Egypt, and Senegal, and carried out a major consolidation in DRC following the acquisition of the operator Tigo Millicom, now Orange DRC. In 2016, Orange acquired mobile operator Airtel in Burkina Faso and Sierra Leone, and Cellcom in Liberia.

Continuing network modernisation

Orange is continuing to work on transitioning its networks to all-IP, the Cloud, and network function virtualisation so they can be dynamically custom programmed in real time. With Network Function Virtualisation (NFV) and the Software Defined Network (SDN), network behaviour can be automated and service design accelerated using software interfaces, and customers will be able to manage services via web applications. These changes should create ways to reduce the costs generated by the Group's networks.

Accelerating the evolution of Group networks

The shift in uses and technological changes, and our customers' ever-increasing expectations in terms of high speed and quality, are driving us to accelerate the upgrades to all of our networks

From 3G to 5G: mobile networks on the move

In Europe, where 4G is largely deployed in all countries, we continue with this deployment in rural zones and increase speeds as well as capacity with LTE-Advanced technology (also known as 4G+). Aggregating multiple 4G frequencies can locally provide higher speeds and additional capacities, in order to offer high-quality service to more customers.
We are also preparing the deployment of technologies which make it possible to continue to increase speeds and exchanged data volumes, with minimum response times including on mobile networks (with small cells, pico cells and Wi-Fi, for example). These small cells supplement the classic network at home, at work and in congested areas.

Africa: mobile phones at the heart of daily life

Orange has committed to improving the range of mobile devices by launching a 4G smartphone designed for use in Africa. The Orange Rise 51 is an Orange-branded smartphone that works with Google’s latest Android M version. To support more access to devices and smartphones in this region, Orange continues to develop new functionalities specifically for Africa. For example, Orange Money allows customers to open an account linked to a mobile telephone and to access money transfer and mobile payment solutions as well as financial services. Orange has also launched My Healthline, the first healthcare hotline in Cameroon and has opened the first APIs to allow African developers to create SMS and USSD services likely to reach a broader range of people.

Working together to develop the Internet of Things

Connected objects are one of the areas of diversification of Orange's strategic plan Essentials2020. To achieve its ambition of becoming the benchmark service operator in the field, Orange operates throughout the value chain, with tailored connectivity solutions for each usage, the distribution of connected objects, and both mass market and business services.

Over 10 years of expertise with our cell networks

Orange has offered machine to machine (M2M) connectivity offers based on its cell networks for over a decade, with more than 12 million connected objects worldwide.
Since the 2G/4G cell networks are now standardised for the specific needs of connected objects, Orange is preparing to upgrade its networks, with tests of LTE-M under way or planned in several countries. To accelerate the development of this technology and support the creation of an end-to-end ecosystem, the Group will open the first European Open IoT Lab to enable LTE-M experimentation in France in late March 2017 as part of a GSMA initiative.

Even more smart applications with LoRa® technology

To supplement its cellular networks (2G/4G and 5G in the future) Orange has decided to invest in France in a LPWA (Low Power Wide Area) network based on LoRa® (Long Range) technology in an effort to complete its connectivity offer and lay the groundwork for the future of the Internet of Things. As this device-focused network needs low speed connectivity and low power, it is already deployed in 18 French urban areas, including around 1,300 municipalities at the end of September 2016. Orange’s aim is to cover 120 French urban areas by January 2017, a total of approximately 2,600 municipalities.

A test with Vinci for a connected rest area

Orange is working with VINCI Autoroutes to run a joint project to optimise the maintenance of a motorway rest area on the A10 motorway in Boutroux (Eure-et-Loir). This next generation connected rest area project includes: the selection and fitting of sensors, the uploading of data via the LoRa® network and data transmission on the user supervision portal. This project, deployed in July 2016 for one year, allows Orange and VINCI Autoroutes to measure the advantages of LoRa® technology in situ.

Start-ups in the LoRa® universe

The start-up Hostabee, in the field of Smart Agriculture, has installed sensors in hives in ten regions and is experimenting with the Orange LoRa® connectivity kit to provide alerts to the beekeepers (temperature, hygrometry and hive activity). An innovative service to find solutions to problems with hive flight, bee health and the loss of swarms.

Orange also uses LoRa® technology for its own needs, such as the deployment of a sensor network at 1,500 of its mobile sites in France to manage electricity. Orange has also chosen to implement a new electricity monitoring project from a mobile phone in France using the LoRa® technology.

The transition to 5G

While 4G is currently booming and is already serving millions of smartphone user customers, Orange has already rolled out 4G+ in a number of cities, mainly in France and Belgium.
5G technology will natively include the needs of the Internet of Things, thus meeting the needs of a wide range of sectors including agriculture, industry and education - all this with a single network that can adapt on demand. It will provide even better overall performance than previous technologies and enable increased energy efficiency.

Preparing the transition to a 100% connected world

LThe next generation of mobile phones will see the launch of a world of constant connection. Users should benefit from the improvements offered by 5G like: ultra-fast access to web services everywhere they go, including in public transit, and the extreme reliability required to support new functions, such as road traffic or energy network regulation.
These different uses will be made possible due to major flexibility: 5G will be designed to allow communication between billions of very different devices. Finally 5G should be more efficient in terms of cost and the environment. Orange is also working to ensure that 5G offers basic internet access via very low-cost devices and networks, compatible with the economic constraints of the regions of the world not covered by networks.

5G: from standardisation to industrial partnerships

Orange has also dedicated significant resources to the development of 5G by the appropriate standardisation organisations in order to ensure that 5G standards will meet Orange customers' expectations, guaranteeing interoperability and encouraging economies of scale. In addition, Orange has opened discussions with sectors like the automotive, healthcare and energy industries, an essential step to meet their needs and to stimulate the integration of 5G in society and the economy. In practical terms, that translates into partnerships with Ericsson (with PSA), Nokia and Huawei.

A 5G partnership with Ericsson

For the first time in France, 25 January 2017, test equipement enabled wireless communication at speeds of over 10 Gbit/s, thanks to elements of the future 5G technology. These speeds were measured in a lab using Ericsson equipment on the Orange Gardens site in Châtillon.

The devices used are prototypes of 5G base stations and mobile phones, and still weigh dozens of kg. Smaller prototypes will be released in the coming months.

5G will also introduce several major technological advances, including high-frequency use, beam tracking, and network slicing, which will make it possible to manage differentiated qualities of service, combined with dynamic, real-time resource allocation.

An initial test carried out in Belfort

In September 2015, ARCEP authorised Orange to carry out the first tests of ultra-high speed frequencies, which are candidates for the development of future 5G technologies and mobile services, in Belfort from the start of 2016. The test will continue until June 2017. A series of campaigns will use equipment purpose-built by the Group to measure how waves propagate depending on the type of construction materials, weather conditions and variations in the natural environment.

To design radio access networks, Orange engineers develop tools which help predict wave propagation and therefore optimise radio coverage of mobile and Wi-Fi networks both outdoors and inside buildings. The propagation model designed by Orange and used in the tests conducted in Belfort is recognised as one of the most precise and reliable in the world. For example, it can be used to create mobile operator marketing coverage maps or to define the number and position of 4G and/or Wi-Fi antennas required to improve traffic.
As part of the UEFA EURO 2016 football tournament, this software contributed to the radio network engineering deployed in the stadiums.

Boosting fixed networks

In response to our customers’ growing needs, residential and corporate customer connectivity is developing towards ultra-high speed technologies. The growth and development of fixed networks are encouraged by the rise in services and uses: HD and then 4K television, video on demand and streaming, virtual reality, and soon augmented reality and 8K television. FTTH is the most sustainable technical solution which offers the best performances. Thanks to technological developments, FTTH will reach over 1Gbits/s soon.

To improve mobile service inside homes, Orange already offers its customers a targeted and voluntary Femtocell solution which helps improve mobile coverage inside the home. In September 2016, Orange also launched OLA, innovative vocal assistance solution for Orange TV using voice control.

The growing availability of VSDL2 also helps provide ultra-high speed to corporate sites, that are not yet eligible for FTTH. Orange Business Services is working on deploying an optical network adapted to companies, FTTE (Fibre to the Enterprise), which is positioned between the consumer network (FTTH) and the FTTO high-end company network.

In France: Orange Connected Territories

This programme marks Orange’s renewed ambition to improve speeds in French rural areas: to improve the internet experience at home between June 2016 and mid-2017 for one million additional homes, and for 2.5 million homes between June 2016 and end 2019.

To do this, Orange:

Transmission and transport networks: record performances

We are anticipating the rise in use and in data traffic volumes, by upgrading our transmission and transport networks. Technologies like CDN (Content delivery network) are being implemented to provide high quality service for video usages. Orange relies on its partner Akamai's vast network of servers to help its business customers accelerate the online distribution of content, websites, and business applications from any data centre to any user, regardless of the device they are using or where they are, and all with high security.

Optimised IP networks

VoWi-Fi/VoLTE technologies throughout Europe

These technologies are deployed across all of our networks in Europe. VoWi-Fi allows you to make and receive calls on your mobile with your mobile number while connected to Wi-Fi at home or in a public space. VoLTE allows faster call connection times, improved audio quality and simultaneous calls and data exchanges.

The all-IP standard for multiple functionalities

The all-IP standard makes it possible to bring our customers interoperable, convergent services which include both voice and data and are open for third party development (API) on a fixed or mobile access. For example, ultra-high speed all-IP access makes it possible to offer HDTV and on-demand video streaming services with better long-term quality of service.

This inevitable transformation affects all of the operators and manufacturers in our ecosystem whose technologies are becoming obsolete, particularly the public switched telephone network (PSTN) and first-generation internet (ATM).

For this change, the priority focus will be on countries with fixed network services where the Group has a historic presence: France, Poland, Spain, Jordan, Senegal, the Ivory Coast and Mauritius. The countries where Orange is a mobile operator are also covered, but the transformation there impacts the core network and transmission.

In Europe, Spain was already almost all IP at the end of 2015, and PSTN services will no longer be sold in France and Poland from 2018. The underlying infrastructure of our IP networks will continue to progress towards higher performance and more services. For the MEA (Middle East Africa) zone countries, the objective is a total transformation by 2020. Overall, by 2020, Orange aims to have deployed 70% VoIP services and 95% latest generation internet services across all markets in the countries where it operates.

This change also affects companies, which have already initiated their voice or data transformation to offer digital services.

Company IP access networks in France

A dedicated IP network serving company sites in France (around 500,000 sites) to ensure exchanges and internet connectivity. It is made up of close to sixty routers and is connected to the Group's international IP network.

This network is built to offer customers an excellent quality of service thanks to traffic prioritisation mechanisms, an availability rate of over 99.998% made possible by a highly resilient topology and high-availability technologies deployed on equipment ensuring very rapid convergence times in case of a line or equipment outage.

A test in 14 municipalities in Finistère

In mid-February, Orange France started a test in 14 municipalities in Finistère in order to prepare for the transition from traditional fixed telephone services to all-IP fixed telephone services. This test marks the starting point for implementation of the Orange all-IP programme in France, prepared in collaboration with ARCEP and the country’s other operators.

Towards networks on demand

Today's networks are essentially made up of specialised physical equipment, while the networks of the future will be based on software hosted in a multitude of similar data centres.
Network Function Virtualisation (NFV) supports, prepares for and participates in network programmability. The SDN (Software Defined Network) is a complementary technology which boosts the network's programmability by enabling dynamic configuration of network links.
By using these technologies, the Group aims to achieve more flexible and agile infrastructures to serve customers more quickly. Orange intends to make full use of the new virtualisation (NFV) and automation (SDN) technologies to create on-demand network solutions.

Orange at the forefront of SDN/NFV technologies

Network function virtualisation will be carried out progressively to control the new functionalities, offer new services or optimise costs. That shift has already started. For example, a geolocation service used in Belgium, and soon to be used in Poland, is based on virtualised equipment (GMLC) hosted in a Polish data centre which corresponds to the target architecture.

Easier network management by company IT managers: with SDN/NFV, IT managers can run the network from a smartphone

The IT manager can totally reconfigure their network, update functionalities or deploy new software solutions using a smartphone, with no need for physical interventions. The network becomes manageable on demand. The goal is to allow companies to be able to rely on a network that is easy to manage, secure, progressive and flexible so they can refocus on their core business and develop new services. Orange has made it a key source of development of its network services.

Orange also has a sustainable SDN infrastructure when deploying it in its network. This solution relies on a new infrastructure based on x86 general servers which can host any service by providing its network to all necessary places with no need to install equipment.

Orange will progressively extend its catalogue of virtualised functions, starting with security functionalities (Firewall, anti-virus, etc.) and optimisation (acceleration, prioritisation, application of routing policies on hybrid configurations). The target strategy is to place intelligence in the network for better association and improved distribution of services to offer the most relevant functionalities while guaranteeing interoperability.

Increasingly exemplary networks

Towards greener networks

The Group aims to reduce its CO2 emissions by 50% per customer use between 2006 and 2020. Through its Green ITN transformation plan, the Group deploys new generation network infrastructures which contribute to fulfilling this strategic priority. That involves using new cooling solutions for technical sites such as data centres, core network sites or access sites, installing solar mobile stations, integrating energy meters into equipment to control energy consumption, and even the transition from copper to fibre. Between 2010 and 2015, these actions helped save 2,500 GWh of electricity, which is the equivalent of two years of consumption for a city with 300,000 inhabitants, and avoided consumption of 170 million litres of fuel as well as the emission of 130,000 tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere.

Energy consumption halved with 5G

The Next Generation of Mobile Networks Consortium, made up of manufacturers and telecoms operators, has already reached an international agreement: the future 5G should consume half as much energy as current technologies while multiplying the volume of traffic by 1,000. The Group shares this ambition and wants to demonstrate through its research that this objective can be reached, based on the expertise developed within its Innovation Marketing and Technologies department.

COP21 and COP22 commitments

In late 2015, during the COP 21 in Paris, Orange and Huawei reaffirmed their goal of building new, significantly more eco-friendly and efficient telecommunications networks by 2020.
During COP 22 in Marrakesh, Orange took stock of its progress on these commitments. In partnership with the Ellen MacArthur foundation, of which Orange is a member, with other partners such as HP, the Group has launched a programme to make our technical equipment and networks adaptable in order to be able to reuse and better recycle these devices and change the business model to move from a focus on ownership to a focus on use.

Towards network self-configuration

Networks are becoming more complex, uses more varied, and quality requirements more strict. Network optimisation and, for example, radio adjustments to avoid dropped calls when travelling, are increasingly handled by artificial intelligence software. They will help change network configuration based on traffic changes. These tools can continually monitor and adjust thousands of parameters, and use artificial intelligence algorithms developed by Orange engineers.

Orange and Engie hand in hand in Africa

Other Group initiatives are also in place in the field of energy, such as the agreement with the energy supplier ENGIE. This agreement was signed at the end of 2015 to develop a rural electricity supply in Africa, and to improve the electrical supply for Orange infrastructures in the same areas. Based on Orange’s expertise as a telecoms carrier and ENGIE’s experience in renewable energy production, aggregation and maintenance, the two Groups are trialling a range of domestic power supply solutions for rural populations.

Preparing for network development: a vast programme

Orange is focusing on both open and interoperable infrastructures and technologies to ensure that its investment choices are sustainable and that it can offer end-to-end services to its customers.

The Group at the forefront of standardisation

To ensure that the solutions which will be put onto the market will comply with its network strategy, the Group actively participates in standardisation work within European and International bodies such as 3GPP, GSMA (for mobiles), UIT (for fixed lines) and IETF (for IP). In addition to these working groups Orange is also involved in the governance bodies. Orange has directly contributed to the emergence of various technologies which have become market standards: audio compression, voice encoding, audio encoding optimisation for digital radio, video compression, cellular networks, communications services and SIM card.

The challenge of open innovation

The Group carries out experiments in the laboratory and on its operational networks in collaboration with manufacturers and the academic world for different reasons: to stimulate innovation, assess the performance of technologies in real-world conditions and their interest to anticipate and satisfy the future requirements of the Group and its customers, acquire the necessary experience to build future networks, and to help with strategic guidance.

Orange at the heart of work on radio frequencies

The radio spectrum is an essential resource for connectivity. It is also scarce, as it is also used for applications other than telecommunications: television, radio, weather, emergency and security services and military applications...

Radio frequencies are allocated by international organisations, particularly the World Radiocommunication Conference within the International Telecommunication Union. The Group actively participates in these organisation’s work in order to assess needs and influence future decisions on spectrum allocation.

Orange: a major player in international networks

At the end of 2016, the Group operated networks in close to 30 countries for its consumer customers, and in nearly 200 countries for its business customers. These networks enable Orange to provide its customers with ever increased and enhanced connectivity in all of its locations.

The international transmission network

Orange has a very extensive international network in Europe, which connects Frankfurt, London, Barcelona and Madrid. This is the WidE Long distance Domestic Optical Network, or WELDON. This network is fully integrated with the French national network and covers the country's 25 largest cities, providing high levels of capillarity and protection. In addition to the mobile and fixed line networks in the countries, Orange deploys or (jointly) operates high-performance international networks to meet the needs of operators and major companies.
To support them in their uses, our customers need both an international presence and the assurance of end-to-end control of our solutions, including with our partners. This allows Orange to offer secure international connectivity solutions. This international WELDON network is supplemented with a double ring in Singapore.

The international IP network

Orange's international IP transit network, Open Transit Internet (OTI), supplies worldwide internet connections to the different Group subsidiaries, as well as its customers which include operators, Internet Service Providers and content suppliers. It is based on the latest transmission and IP switching technologies.
In mid-2016, we had 24 OTI network locations (12 in Europe, two in Asia, eight in North America, one in Africa and one in the Middle East), connected by high-speed 622 Mbit/s to 100 Gbit/s links, and transporting several hundred Gbit/s of traffic during peak time. In mid-2016, the traffic carried reached 4.2 Tbit/s.


Orange uses satellite communications in addition to other technologies where relevant, particularly to provide general network connections for the French Overseas Departments, IP or voice connections to other operators, and VSAT (Very Small Aperture Terminal) services for Orange Business Services land or sea corporate customers. Orange uses this technology to deliver holistic communications solutions to companies operating in areas which lack physical network coverage, particularly in the oil, gas and mining industries. To do this, Orange uses spatial capacities rented from satellite operators (Eutelsat, Intelsat, SES, Arabsat).

Undersea cables

The Group is involved in over 40 undersea fibre cables and consortia. They represent 450,000 km of fibre optic, over 10 times the circumference of the earth. Undersea cable speeds are increased through upgrades to the terminal equipment located in undersea cable station. The implementation of 40 Gbit/s then 100 Gbit/s wavelength services has already been completed on several Group fibre optic networks.

Construction of a new submarine cable

Orange will deploy a new fibre optic submarine cable to connect French Guiana, Martinique and Guadeloupe, with commissioning planned for the second half of 2018. This new fibre link, with a total length of 1,900 km, will anticipate the growth in traffic and provide additional connection points in order to guarantee the quality of service between French Guiana, Martinique and Guadeloupe.
It will also provide a link to the existing ECFS cable, which creates a direct link between French Guiana and the American continent. This additional connection will better secure the traffic to and from the USA, which accounts for over 80% of total volumes. This new international fibre connection, composed of two pairs of fibres, will ultimately offer speeds of up to 50 times 100 Gbit/s, i.e. 5 Terabit/s. This massive project represents and investment of approximately 35 million Euros for Orange.

Growing traffic boosted by the Europe-Asia axis

The 2015 transition to 100 Gbit/s technology on the SEA-ME-WE3 and SEA-ME-WE4 fibre links has enabled Orange to support the growth of traffic on the Europe-Asia axis. For the longer term, Orange is involved in the SEA-ME-WE5, a cable connecting Singapore and Europe, with connectivity in the Indian Ocean. This cable also features 100 Gbit/s technology, and significantly increases Orange's Asia-Europe capacities and provides more connectivity towards the Indian Ocean via Djibouti to increase speeds in Reunion Island and Mayotte, while preparing to ultimately replace the older SEA-ME-WE3 and SEA-ME-WE4 cables.

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Undersea Cables - Orange par Orange

The SEA-ME-WE5 cable, connecting Toulon to Singapore

West Africa: cable extension works in progress

In December 2012, Orange was a part of the consortium which commissioned the first phase of the ACE (Africa Coast to Europe) fibre optic cable. Around 17,000 kilometres long, its potential capacity will amount to 12.8 Tbit/s thanks to the use of 100 Gbit/s transmission technology. From France, ACE now extends to Sao Tomé and Principe. Work on the extension to South Africa began in late 2015, with commissioning slated for early 2018.
At the same time, in order to secure Orange traffic by diversifying routes, the Group increased its capacities on the SAT3-WASC-SAFE cable in 2014. The next increase is under way, and should start up in the third quarter of 2017.

Indian Ocean: investments to increase capacities

Orange is a co-owner of the LION (Lower Indian Ocean Network) fibre link, which connects Madagascar to the worldwide high speed network via Reunion Island and Mauritius, and the LION2 cable, which extends LION to Kenya by way of Mayotte. To support the growth in traffic, the Group invests in increasing the capacities of these two cables. The SMW5 cable, commissioned in December 2016, provides a new high-capacity route between Djibouti, Egypt, Italy and France.

Atlantic Ocean: three essential cables for the Caribbean zone

In order to support the strong growth in digital technology use and the data boom while improving network quality, Orange also operates in the Caribbean zone, where it has capacities on three major fibre optic links: Americas-II, ECFS and CBUS. In order to support the explosion in high speed usage in the French Overseas Departments, the Group participated in capacity increases which were commissioned in 2015.

International service control networks

The international voice network

Orange has an international switch network to manage historic voice communications as well as an equipment network to manage voice over IP. This network is mainly made up of three transit units in France, two in the USA and one in Hong Kong.

The signalling network

The international signalling network aims to offer mobile operators with roaming connectivity: CCITT no. 7 semaphore signalling for 2G and 3G networks, Diameter signalling for 4G networks. Different services are offered to mobile operators for international exchanges.

Dedicated business services networks

The IP VPN network overseas (IP Global Network IGN)

As with the IP network in France, this international network aims to supply virtual private network (VPN), Internet and voice/video over IP services for major multinational companies. The IGN network associates 270 local suppliers and presents more than 590 inter-network interconnections. Finally, thanks to the partnership strategy with regional operators, the IGN network serves an additional 61 countries. These partnerships allow IP VPN or Ethernet interconnections without affecting the nature of the service offered to corporate customers.

Hybrid private / internet networks to provide more flexibility and security for customers

OBS helps companies manage, control and optimise their increasing traffic and the development of their different flows, driven by the rising numbers of applications hosted in the cloud and the growing intensity of internet traffic, which is set to triple by 2018.

OBS integrates the best technologies from its key partners and offers fully-managed solutions which can combine multiple networks to match the different levels of performance, availability and security required for different uses. That means OBS can offer private networks or VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) which are fully dedicated to the company and hermetically sealed off from public networks, as well as hybrid networks which allow businesses to use both their private network and the internet (which is a public network). In this case, the private network is used to keep the company's critical operational applications running smoothly, while the public internet network is used for applications like video flows with lower security requirements.

"Cloud ready" networks with hybrid Internet-VPN to provide secure support to cloud customers

The Galerie Business VPN, launched in 2010, is the first global hub to connect OBS' VPN customers to cloud services via fully secure links. Thanks to the Galerie Business VPN, companies can access cloud applications and infrastructures from Orange as well as over 30 partners including Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Express Route, Salesforce, AWS, Ingenico and Cegid. Over 1,600 companies and over 33,000 sites worldwide now access their cloud services via the Galerie Business VPN.

The international company voice network (NEO)

NEO is a voice services supply network for international companies. Based on the international IP MPLS network, this corporate voice network has 61 points of presence in 38 countries, and interconnects around fifty operators worldwide. It helps collect and terminate calls with these operators, for customers connected to the Orange Business Services network over IP or TDM.

Press contacts: +33 (0)1 44 44 93 93 –

Mathilde Boistay :

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