Orange CTIO Bruno Zerbib revealed plans for sweeping changes, less than six months after joining the French operator group.

During the Orange Open Tech Days event last week, Zerbib told Mobile World Live he is highly optimistic about the desire for change within the company, though acknowledged it might not come easily.

“We are no longer just the connectivity provider, we’re going to be transforming Orange into a platform company,” Zerbib said.

The buoyant CTIO declared he sees “the appetite for change. The humility and the thrust for knowledge is just incredible in this company. I think that we had been too arrogant in the past.”

But Zerbib conceded there will be hurdles to his plans: “So arguably, the biggest challenge we probably face is the culture internally within Orange, and to get everybody on board with a new vision and ambition.”

“If you don’t have the right culture and the right approach, then you can’t really scale and transform yourself.”

Recognising the inherent pitfalls associated with transforming a company, the Orange executive accepted this cannot be an excuse for failure. “We are extremely respected, we have an incredible brand, we have the best network in France and we score the highest grade. There’s no scenario where this vision that I’m sharing with you takes place at the expense of operational excellence. So I’m going to say crawl, walk and run because we have to do things in parallel. But there’s no way we’re going to lose sight of what made us successful.”

“We are going to invest massively on upscaling and rescaling. There’s a huge commitment from the group on investing in our employees to make sure that they are completely versed in cutting edge technology.”

Meat on the bone
Putting some substance to these moves, Zerbib detailed four areas being targeted to provide deliverables over the next month, “So don’t expect us to make you wait two or three years, expect more of a continuous delivery of milestones.”

Firstly, Orange will become a platform offering customers a wide range of agile services. Second is cybersecurity; next is a focus on the customer. “We want to make sure that every product we build will have the same strong data and AI power capabilities that give us the best personalised experience for our customers.”

The fourth target area is to really differentiate home connectivity. “We believe intelligent Wi-Fi together with home fibre and then switching to 5G or satellite, needs to be better worked out. You should expect some announcements in this gateway sector.”

Zerbib observed that the mobile operator community was stuck in a “generational paradigm where it was 2G, 3G, 4G and then 5G.”

“I personally believe that 5G is the last G…but what our customers are telling us is that they didn’t feel much difference between moving from 4G to 5G. We talked about bandwidth, when really we should have talked about the efficiency we created in terms of energy consumption and in the way we improved the reliability of our network.”