Stephane Richard, the Chief Executive Officer of France Telecom (FT) yesterday unveiled an all-embracing five-year project to the press. Dubbed ‘Conquests 2015’, the group-wide scheme is aimed it says, ‘at setting out the challenges and perspectives that lie ahead, clarifying the Group’s business activities and regaining a sense of conquest and pride within the company’. FT’s action plan is centred on the development of its next generation broadband access network, international development, boosting its global customer base by 50% and bolstering a disenfranchised workforce.
FT, which markets its services under the Orange banner, is looking for a fresh start under the guidance of Stephane Richard following a turbulent year underscored by a wave of suicides among its staff. The broad content of its new so-called ‘industrial project’ may not be new or surprising, but it does mark a shift in emphasis going forward. The state-backed behemoth’s four core tenets, or conquests, centre on: Employee pride, Orange says it aims first and foremost to win over the men and women that form the heart of the company. The group goes on to say it is committed to offering its employees a beneficial working environment thanks to a new vision of human resources, a new management style and shared values; Networks, in its release Orange ‘reaffirms that its networks are its core business and its future … The conquest of networks means increasing coverage and bandwidth for both fixed and mobile networks, in both mature and emerging countries. In France, Orange will invest EUR2 billion by 2015 to deploy a new fibre-optic network. This will guarantee coverage for 40% of households through coverage in every region of mainland France by 2012 and in every departement by 2015 (including the three overseas territories). In addition, the Group has the necessary technological expertise and is ready to launch LTE as soon as the regulations are in place. Orange will also invest in the monetisation of mobile data traffic as well as in the deployment of ‘green’ networks such as the Oryx programme of solar-powered mobile telephone masts in Africa’; Customers, the Group says its long-term ambition is to offer a ‘superior customer experience’ compared to other operators. This includes the analysis and anticipation of needs, technical support, assisted migration to new services and control over expenses, etc … Orange is also developing products in healthcare and education as well as mobile payment or money transfer services such as its Orange Money programme in Africa; and International Development, Orange has also set its sights on reviving what it terms ‘a spirit of growth through international development’. The telco’s approach will be based on a sound acquisition policy and rules out any ‘transformational’ deals, it said. Sales are expected to double over the next five years in emerging markets. Finally, Orange plans to grow from close to 200 million customers at present to 300 million by 2015 across its entire footprint.