INTERVIEW: Michael Trabbia, CEO of Orange’s wholesale division, made it clear the operator is not bound to one technology and satellite is very much part of its solutions offering, but played down how big the segment could prove for telecoms overall.

Speaking on this month’s Mobile World Live Podcast, Trabbia insisted Orange will always opt to provide the best connectivity type to its customer; whether that is terrestrial, fibre or satellite.

portrait image of Michael Trabbia

Trabbia (pictured, left) said the latter was proving particularly useful for backhaul, B2B and B2C customer use cases and to connect the unconnected across its vast Africa and Middle East footprint.

However, the executive said not even for one minute did it consider satellite has the potential to replace terrestrial networks and “nobody serious believes that”.

In relation to the telecoms market as a whole, he pointed out that satellite is worth around €20 billion, accounting for between 1 per cent and 2 per cent of overall value. At the top end of the projections, he expects this to grow maybe double, meaning “it will still remain limited overall”.

He pointed to a range of challenges facing satellite limiting its potential, including high costs, physical constraints, the overall capacity available for constellations and the fact that submarine cables have proved to be much more efficient for intercontinental communications.

During the interview, Trabbia also spoke of the crowded nature of the satellite segment, noting it is a challenging business and “obviously size matters”.

“I think it’s fair to expect some consolidation or some failure at some point,” he added.

To listen to the Podcast, click here.