Philippe Andres, VP Group Marketing North America, Orange

Philippe Andres, VP Group Marketing North America, Orange

Philippe Andres, VP Group Marketing North America, Orange is speaking on the subject of “How Do LTE deployments alter the attitude towards Wi-Fi?”, in the Hetnets track on Day Two of the LTE North America conference, taking place on the 21st-22nd November 2013, in Dallas, Texas, USA. Ahead of the show we find out more about Orange’ is taking a lead in LTE and his thoughts on marketing and pricing.

How is Orange taking the lead in LTE around the world?

There are several examples. Starting with the UK, EE, our joint collaboration with Deutsche Telekom, was until this summer the only 4G LTE operator on the scene since it launched in October 2012. It has taken full advantage of this, and now has LTE market leadership, with more than 1.2 million 4GEE customers.

In September, Amena, Orange’s low cost brand in Spain, launched a new innovative 4G service and aims to cover 15 large cities by the end of 2013. In October, Mobistar, our Belgium subsidiary announced it was speeding up 4G deployment network and to make 15 cities accessible by the end of 2013 and to cover 40 cities more during the first quarter of 2014. Meanwhile, Orange Romania is the first carrier to offer 4G in the entire capital city Bucharest, and we also launched 4G LTE in Poland in the capital city Warsaw.

In addition, in France, we will have 40 per cent population coverage by the end of 2013 and we are the only carrier speeds to offer up to 150Mbps, and 70 per cent of our smartphone range is compatible with this. Finally we are regularly distinguished by the French regulator ARCEP for our network’s quality of service.

The LTE North America conference is taking place on the 21st-22nd November 2013, in Dallas, Texas, USA. Click here NOW to download a brochure for the event.

Orange, formerly France Telecom, has a large presence round the world but not in the US. Tell us more about its North American interests.

This is true that because of its France Telecom roots Orange is better known in Western Europe and EMEA. Nevertheless, Orange provides a suite of managed B2B services to the Global MNCs across the world in four key domains, namely networks, integration services, IT and cloud services and collaboration. In fact, in the USA and Canada, Orange has over time made investments to become a recognised Solutions Integrator.

Key figures about the Orange B2B footprint in North America:

–          More than 650 Multinational Customers (MNC), in all major verticals including healthcare and pharmacy, financial services energy, transport, retail, hospitality, manufacturing.

–          One class A data centre located in Oak Hill, Virginia and 18 other data centres.

–          Over 295 Ethernet Pops including MPLS VPN and 14,000+ customer connections.

–          Numerous Cisco certifications, including Cisco Multinational Certified in the region.

In addition to these activities, Orange has teams located in San Francisco, CA and New-York City focused on US markets, trends analysis and partnerships developments with specific US partners, such as carriers, OTTs and start-ups.

Do you view Orange as an innovative company?

Yes I do – and more than ever! At the beginning of November, during the “Hello Show 2013” in Paris, Stephane Richard, our chairman and CEO reaffirmed Orange’s very strong ambition for maintaining innovative leadership and announced many new products and services that Orange will launch over the next coming months.

A few examples: WeVideo, a new App, which enables customers to do video editing on smartphones and to use the Orange Cloud for storing and viewing their videos with any devices (computers, tablets, smartphones).

Two other flagship products are firstly, “Le Bloc” a new Wi-Fi connected audio/video projector device, which enables folks to watch TV and personal videos anywhere at home, directly from the Orange Cloud. “Le Bloc” also can be connected via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi with smartphones and tablets for delivering content even without Internet access.

Secondly, in partnership with LG, Orange in France is launching a new 4G smartphone called the G Flex with an innovative design and a curved high definition screen, which will offer a very exciting video experience for customers.

Orange will be releasing the G Flex, an LG made smartphone with a curved screen

Orange will be releasing the G Flex, an LG made smartphone with a curved screen

You’re speaking about Wi-Fi at the conference. What is the opportunity around Wi-Fi for Orange?

As you know, Orange has already a good experience with 4G LTE technologies in the UK, by the way of EE, our joint-venture with Deutsche Telekom. We have now more than 55 per cent population coverage in the UK for LTE, so we know very well how it can be difficult for carriers to invest in their customer best interests in technologies that can on the face of it appear to be in competition. However, the customer’s needs and expectations is our main guideline for investments and innovation.

It’s why we presented during “Hello Show 2013” a new App called Orange Connection. Planned for a mid-2014 launch in France it will enable smartphone users to always get the best internet connection regarding the kind of profile they have chosen. Thus they can opt for “the best performance” oriented profile, or the “cheaper connection” oriented profile, and regarding this choice, smartphones will automatically select the most efficient connection between 3G, HSPA+, 4G or Wi-Fi networks.

So I am very proud to be able to speak about that during this LTE North America 2013 in Dallas.

EE in the UK, of which Orange is a co-partner, is now offering tiered pricing depending on speed. Do you think moves like this will become more widespread?

Yes you are right. As a result of its unique double-speed network, a new two-tiered approach to 4G pay monthly handset plans is being introduced by EE. As you know marketing strategy and pricing parameters are vital to the success of 4G. EE wants to be leading the way and pioneering the roll out of 4G in the UK. EE  offers its customers everything they have been asking for – superfast performance, choice and value – and I am sure that this new marketing approach will be closely followed up by the other carriers, not only in the UK. I believe the answer to your question will come from customers and I do believe they will develop a taste for this kind of plans.

“Le Bloc” a new Wi-Fi connected audio/video projector device from Orange

“Le Bloc” a new Wi-Fi connected audio/video projector device from Orange

How do you think LTE Advanced will be marketed to consumers and businesses, compared to current LTE?

Take a look at SK Telecom for example: in order to take advantage of the higher speeds delivered by its world’s first LTE-A network, SK Telecom is touting LTE-A’s higher data speeds to customers and emphasising that there are no premium charges for the faster service. SK Telecom also launched a new data plan named ‘T-Life Pack’ that enables customers to enjoy up to 140 hours of video per month.

With LTE-A, some of the carriers may consider, as SK does, to deliver more data for the same price, and others may ask customers to pay more for higher speeds and better services. From my point of view, there is not a single answer. It depends on different markets and countries. For consumers, the future of mobile is about connecting more devices, accessing more real-time information, and sharing higher definition images and videos. The emergence of wearable technology and connected products will also continue to increase their usage of data.

From a marketing standpoint, carriers should firstly lure customers with these new exciting experiences before touting the technical performance of the network or by using cheap pricing tactics.

Why is the LTE North America conference an important opportunity for you?

LTE North America is a very interesting event bringing the full spectrum of LTE players, as I discovered when I attended this event in 2012. I am very proud to have the opportunity this year to speak about Orange during this event, and I hope to give the attendees the desire to learn more about its innovative products and services.

The LTE North America conference is taking place on the 21st-22nd November 2013, in Dallas, Texas, USA. Click here NOW to download a brochure for the event.

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