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Orange sets out strategic plan amid merger speculation

Orange has set out its strategic plan for the next five years, Engage 2025, with a focus on offering etail and wholesale customers enhanced connectivity, strengthening its leadership in more open and higher-valued infrastructures, making ake Orange MEA the reference digital operator in Africa & the Middle East and placing data and AI at the heart of its innovation model for a reinvented customer experience, among other things.

The launch of the plan comes amid speculation about the possible future consolidation of the European telecom sector, including reports of a possible combination of France Telecom and Deutsche Telekom.

Orange’s first ambition is to reinvent its operator model by capitalising on its leading network position.
Firstly, Orange will offer enhanced connectivity to its retail and wholesale customers. This will be based on two pillars: providing speeds up to 10 times faster and new associated services.

For fixed services, whether thanks to our own infrastructure or the use of third-party networks, Orange will be able to offer FTTH to more than 65 million households in Europe by 2023, underlining its leadership in Europe in terms of fibre. Orange will rely on the gradual increase in speeds and the constant improvement in quality of connectivity in homes (Homelan) to offer new services. In terms of content, Orange will enhance its OTT TV experience to respond to changing uses. In services relating to the home of the future, Orange will continue to develop its security and remote assistance offers.

In financial terms, the operator plans to grow its EBITDAaL number by 2-3% a year for 2021-03 and increase organic cash flow for telecoms activities between 2020 and 2023 with a target of between €3.5 and €4 billion in 2023, up from €2 billion this year.

In fixed services, Oranges claims it will be able to offer FTTH to more than 65 million households in Europe by 2023.

In terms of content, the company says it will enhance its OTT TV experience to respond to changing uses. In services relating to the home of the future, Orange will continue to develop its security and remote assistance offers.

In mobile, Orange will focus on 5G. After an initial commercial launch in Romania, 5G will begin to be rolled out in most of the European countries where the group operates in 2020.

The launch of the plan, which also involves ambitious goals for financial services and geographic expansion in the MEA region, comes after German newspaper Handelsblatt reported that Deutsche Telekom is exploring the possibility of a merger with Orange. However such a merger would likely meet resistance from Orange, which would be seen as the junior partner in any combination.

Any merger plan would also be made more difficult by the fact that the German and French states hold substantial stakes in Deutsche Telekomn and Orange respectively.