A new code of conduct for Orange and the industry

29 May 2018 |


CEO Pierre-Louis de Guillebon talks to Jason McGee-Abe about the industry’s new Code of Conduct and the evolution of Orange International Carriers

Pierre-Louis de Guillebon V2 350x400The CEO who has led Orange’s international wholesale efforts since April 2016 is incredibly passionate about many things but a particular focus that we’ve discussed is security. The wholesale telecoms industry is taking a stand to stop voice fraud and the Global Leaders’ Forum (GLF) and i3forum have rallied together to jointly develop a powerful collective tool to bring the fight against this to the next level. A level which de Guillebon also believes can be extended to messaging as well.

“More and more carriers are signing up the code of conduct, which is a public commitment to take action. Every player is affected by fraud directly or indirectly and that is why this activity is very important,” says de Guillebon. The code of conduct was first signed at our Capacity Middle East event and has gained more and more support, as announced at ITW this year and highlighted in the front cover story in this ITW Daily.

This key collaborative initiative should help to tackle international telecommunications fraud, which costs our industry an estimated $17 billion annually, according to the Communication Fraud Control Association (CFCA), and a significant part of this is voice fraud. “We are still doing a lot in voice and continuing to innovate voice but so too are fraudsters. We all need to stick to this code of conduct. I hope the whole industry applies this to kill the fraud which has led to losing billions of dollars in revenue.”

“To prepare for this effectively we have to have solidarity and work together and come up with a cooperative response to security as we’re all fighting these criminals,” adds de Guillebon, and that’s why the GLF and i3forum Code of Conduct needs your support now!

Looking at Orange’s own business, the CEO says: “We have a huge choice of new products coming out in voice, mobile and data, many focussed on our security portfolio. The number of attacks we face is developing quickly and it’s true in voice, data and mobile alike. New technologies are being developed to counter cyberattacks and I expect security to be the key topic over the next few years or even decade.”

A key focus for de Guillebon is to better handle security, not just reacting to attacks but to be more proactive and expanding Orange IC’s network and delivery of content closer to its customers. “We will continue to develop switching from a transit network to a content delivery network (CDN) and deploying a network of CDNs, pushing content closer to our customers, aiding them with the explosion of traffic and their latency battles, typically stemming from video and gaming. 80-90% of content is video and future innovation will lead to 4K and 8K video and millions of virtual reality headsets will add more traffic and pressure to enhance bandwidth.”

“Security is very apparent, as we try to protect our customers, employees, equipment and solutions,” he adds. “We’re fighting a massive increase of attacks from everywhere and everybody suffers from them.” It’s a challenge which is only going to get bigger, he warns, with blockchain, AI, IoT, mobile payments, and connected cars.

Industry predictions

So what’s next for the industry I ask de Guillebon? SDN will certainly digitalise the way to sell and manage the network and NFV will change the way to design it.

“But another key topic is blockchain,” he adds. “I was amazed about this topic after talking about this with the Global Leaders’ Forum (GLF). The technology is for the retail industry but the recent PCCW Global and Colt Technology Services’ Proof of Concept has intrigued de Guillebon. “They have been showing a different concept for the wholesale industry for voice, the basics of our business, applied to voice management of contracts.”

Another area is always to 5G and IoT. “5G is coming soon and sooner than expected,” he says. “Many countries are launching services in 2019 not 2020. On the wholesale side we have to be prepared and ready as it’s coming quickly. Behind 5G you have all the connected objects. There will be billions of objects in a few years’ time and what’s critical for the wholesale industry is the roaming of the subjects and we have to be prepared to facilitate for that.”

Speaking on the 5G panel at ITW this year, de Guillebon said: “5G is not just 4G plus one. It will be a place to develop new applications, such as in health care. There will be more companies developing new things.”

Orange wholesale and International networks division

On 2 May, Orange International Carriers became part of the newly-formed Wholesale and International Networks division. The Orange Group has restructured its multi-services operator strategy and you would have read on Page 7 of the ITW Show Daily on Monday details about this structure and information about Jérôme Barré, recently appointed as CEO of this new division.

“The creation of the new division for wholesale is great as we were previously spread around different divisions of Orange. The new division groups all wholesale together under the responsibility of Jérôme, who I know very well. This activity will be composed of four complementary parts: First is Orange Wholesale France, which is the important domestic division in France, selling termination access in France for our competitors and MVNOs.

“The second is International Carriers, my remit, all the wholesale business done with all the other wholesale operators in the world out of France and also in France for international traffic where we also sell traffic to our competitors domestically. The third part is Orange International Network Infrastructure Services, the factory or network part.

Roaming power

The fourth involves the roaming activity and all the roaming agreements will be part of this. The European Union’s end of mobile roaming charges has been a huge success for consumers but has certainly put a lot of pressure from a traffic volume point of view. Orange has seen the roaming of data multiplied by eight on average in 2017 compared to 2016. Voice traffic has been increasing by around 50%. Just by the fact that roaming rates has been liberalised.

“Compared to 2016 the data traffic in Europe due to roaming into different countries has been multiplied by eight. All of this traffic has been hosted on IPX networks so we have had to upgrade the network to address this huge surge.”

I ask him what the potential is for roaming agreements to be firmly established in different regions around the world. “Perhaps we will see this in 5-10 years’ time. It will vary vastly depending on regions, Europe agreeing with North America for example. I’m convinced it will happen because for the end-user it is so convenient. It won’t happen quickly.”

Orange IC has continued the strong development of revenues and margins of its voice business and “we’re very proud of this achievement,” he says. “We have successfully continued to develop the revenues and margins of our voice business and we’re very proud of this achievement. We’re one of the top three players by revenue. We have been switching our voice service to voice-over-IP (VoIP), deploying new VoIP systems, and today we are half way there, already transforming 50% from traditional voice to VoIP.”

“We’re constantly faced with innovation and preparing for the next big thing, such as voice-over-LTE (VoLTE). IP traffic increases two-fold every year and as I’ve highlighted we face huge security issues. The threat is in front of us and hackers are ready to attack,” he warns. “Payments on internet terminals is another challenge. As the internet of things (IoT) explodes we’ll have billions of connected objects and our challenge is preparing for all these new types of innovation that will come to the market very quickly. Our Tier-1 open international transit IP network is starting to directly connect with content providers and improving the quality of traffic for our retail operations in a number of countries.”

There are many challenges though, but for de Guillebon a key one is keeping pace with change and adapting to innovation. The change with Orange’s structure will still see de Guillebon leading from the front and continue to manage international connectivity and transmission services for wholesale voice, mobile, internet and security services within the division. With the new Orange structure, “retail activity, B2B and now wholesale are all one entity. We’ll start to work together to see if we have to change the organisation, work on new business or do something different but time will tell as we develop this great single entity.”