What’s up with… Orange, ‘big tech’ in the EU, Nokia

Orange CEO Christel Heydemann

Orange CEO Christel Heydemann

  • Orange CEO revamps her top team
  • EC to consider whether big tech firms should cough up capex funds to Europe’s telcos 
  • Nokia simplifies its telecom software portfolio

In today’s industry news roundup: Orange CEO shuffles the top deck; Eurocrats to ponder big tech contributions to telco budgets; Nokia leans on AVA for its software future; and more! 

Orange CEO Christel Heydemann, who took on the role in April this year, has had a bit of a clear-out of the top executive team, announcing a number of changes. Stéphane Vallois, currently deputy CEO at Orange Bank, steps up to the top role on 1 October, taking over from current Orange Bank CEO Paul de Leusse, who is leaving the company. The operator will also have a new executive vice president in charge of human resources from 1 December, when Vincent Lecerf takes over from Gervais Pellissier, who steps back into a management team advisory role (which is the equivalent of having one foot out of the door). Lecerf will join Orange from French industrial minerals giant Imerys, where he is currently director of human resources. And the operator’s chief technology and innovation officer, Michaël Trabbia, will add to his workload (at least for a short while) by also becoming the interim CEO of the operator’s Wholesale & International Networks division from 15 September, when the current head of wholesale Jérôme Barré leaves the company. Trabbia spoke with TelecomTV last week following his opening keynote presentation at the NGMN’s Industry Conference and Exhibition in Paris – you can watch that video interview here. For more on the changes being made at Orange, see this press release

The European Commission is to launch a consultation in early 2023 that, among other things, will look at the case for the so-called big tech companies (including Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple and Netflix) to make financial contributions towards the upkeep and expansion of Europe’s telecom networks, according to a report from Reuters. The business news agency cited comments made by Thierry Breton, the European Union’s internal market commissioner, who has responsibility for the digital economy and industry among many other things, and who it’s worth remembering was the CEO of France Telecom (before it was renamed Orange), so has some history with the comms sector. Breton told reporters that a wide-ranging consultation, including the topic of whether big tech firms should contribute to telco capital expenditure budgets, would begin during the first quarter of next year and that the European Commission (EC) would share its resulting proposals some five or six months later. Europe’s telcos have been agitating for some kind of financial compensation from the major digital and streaming service companies for years, but the lobbying has picked up pace in the past nine to 12 months and now appears to have paid off. Earlier this month, reports emerged that the EC was gathering views and data from both the telco and the big tech community about their ongoing relationships, while in February a quartet of Europe’s largest operators Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefónica and Vodafoneissued a public appeal to the European Union via an open letter published in the Financial Times (subscription required) for help in obtaining financial contributions from the big tech firms.

Nokia is aiming to simplify and streamline its telecom software portfolio by bringing its OSS and BSS telecom software products under the vendor’s AVA (automation, visualization, analytics) brand. The move “reflects the continued evolution of Nokia’s software business and builds on the success of rearchitecting its applications to make them fully cloud-native and deployable in any cloud environment, edge, public or private”, notes Nokia in this press release. It also highlights Nokia’s increasing use of AI capabilities as the bedrock of its software products. We can expect to hear a lot more about OSS, BSS, analytics and AI during the next two weeks as the telecom software sector gears up for the TM Forum’s Digital Transformation World event in Copenhagen: Watch out for TelecomTV’s reports from that show.  

In an effort to reduce the volume of junk and debris floating in the earth’s orbit, Jessica Rosenworcel, chairwoman at US regulator the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), has proposed new rules that would require low-earth orbit (LEO) satellite operators to dispose of their satellites within five years of “completing their missions”. “Today it is the recommended practice for satellite operators to deorbit their spacecraft within 25 years of completing their missions,” noted Rosenworcel. “But there is no reason to wait that long anymore. Our space economy is moving fast.  For it to continue to grow, we need to do more to clean up after ourselves so space innovation can continue to expand.  That is why I am proposing to shorten the 25-year guideline to no more than 5 years. It will mean more accountability and less risk of collisions that increase debris. I hope my colleagues will join me in supporting this effort.” The announcement comes as the likes of Elon Musk’s Starlink, OneWeb, Amazon’s Kuiper and more plan to launch thousands of LEO satellites into orbit during the next few years.  Read more

The value of contactless payments is set to rise from $4.6tn this year to $10tn by 2027, driven mainly by the growing adoption of mobile device-enabled payments, according to a new report from Juniper Research. “Investment in the underlying contactless payments ecosystem, such as contactless-enabled POS [point-of-sale] terminals and device-level support, will be the key driver of contactless transactions value growth over the next five years”, according to the analyst team at Juniper, which expects 99% of smartphones globally to be able to make contactless payments by 2027. The majority of the growth will come from an increasing volume of transactions made using smartphones or wearable devices, with the volume of such transactions set to grow by 221% during the next five years compared with an expected 119% increase in contactless card payments. Read more.  

Bath, UK-based, high-speed broadband altnet Truespeed says it now passes 50,000 homes with its fibre access network following a “record year of growth”. The company, which raised £100m in funding at the start of this year and currently provides commercial broadband services to 11,500 customers, aims to reach 500,000 homes and businesses across urban, semi-rural and ultra-rural areas of south-west England by the end of 2025. Read more

The Wi-Fi sector has been given a boost by Intel and Broadcom with what they claim is the first multivendor demonstration of products supporting the latest iteration of the standard, Wi-Fi 7. The two chip giants say they achieved connection speeds greater than 5Gbit/s between an Intel Core processor-based laptop and a Broadcom Wi-Fi 7 access point. The wireless technology keeps getting written off by many in the cellular communications sector, but for homes, businesses and many other locations, it’s likely to continue to play a critical role in providing reliable, cost-efficient and high-speed connectivity. “Wi-Fi 7 is the most powerful and capable Wi-Fi protocol yet and will allow Wi-Fi to continue to serve the most demanding applications in the consumer and vertical markets with the highest level of determinism yet,” noted Phil Solis, research director of connectivity at IDC. “Interoperability testing between Intel and Broadcom will enable the development of products that can be used in the test beds for official Wi-Fi Alliance certification testing.” Read more.

Greek networking equipment vendor Intracom Telecom, has announced its complete exit from the Russian market and has sold its Russian subsidiary, though it hasn’t shared any details of that transaction (including the identity of the buyer). Along with many other vendors, Intracom suspended its business operations in Russia in late February this year when the invasion of Ukraine began. Read more

- The staff, TelecomTV

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