October 25, 2023
At day two of Network X, Orange kicked off the keynote sessions by celebrating the fertile land of B2B network installations.
Mari-Noëlle Jégo-Laveissière (pictured), Deputy CEO of Orange Group, took to the stage and began by dropping some headline stats about Orange’s operations in the various countries it operates in, and boasted that the fibre rollout is even slowing down in some countries as they have reached more than 90% coverage.
‘5G is all about using data in real time everywhere,’ she said though added that it was too early to talk about 6G.
5G SA is becoming a reality in 2023 she added, and said the general 5G and fibre rollout was apparently key to the firm’s 2040 CSR goals – which seemed to be mainly attributed to energy consumption.
The bulk of the talk focussed on the opportunities presented by private networks in industry, both with regards to the successes Orange has had with it and in the future prospects for the industry as a whole. Specifically 5G SA was held up as a key driver of this, of which she said: “this is a true revolution for B2B… it opens up a world of possibility for businesses all across the industry.”
She highlighted a recent contract Orange took to provide the port of Barcelona with an array of connectivity set ups including ship control, push to talk, real time video analytics, and connectivity for ship passengers. ‘This is a very important contract for us,’ she said.
Expanding on the nature of working with industry customers, she added: ‘When you have a fully connected 5G factory, if there is any issue you are the one that will be blamed in 30 seconds.’
‘5G is absolutely the cornerstone of the future,’ she concluded.
Later on, a panel of experts discussed some of the economic models around tower infrastructure and the practice of operators divesting them to towercos.
Nicolas Roy, CEO of TOTEM, sketched out the scope and difficulties of running a tower portfolio, and how it’s more like real estate than anything else, requiring different skills.
Svetlana Barthelemy, Senior Vice President at wealth find GIC added: ‘We see a lot of benefits for infrastructure carve outs’ referring to operators selling off towers, pointing out that it helps management team to focus on KPIs, and helps with the cost of capital.
Meanwhile, James Gordon, Managing Director of KKR likened the tower sector to having one highway and making sure its utilised in a good way, adding that ‘integrated’ telcos have a regulatory burden that is sometimes unfair.
Ultimately the panel seemed agreed on the various benefits of the strategy many telcos have adopted involving the selling off of their tower infrastructure to free up cap x, but that there was no one size fits all solution.
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