France Telecom-Orange

Headquarters: 
France

France Telecom-Orange devotes considerable resources to NFC and mobile payment at its French and UK offices and R&D centers.

France’s largest telco, Orange is also poised to become the largest mobile operator in the UK. Orange had planned to show the world the way to NFC rollouts with a planned commercial launch originally targeted for Q1 2008 in the southwestern French city of Bordeaux.

But Orange had to pull the plug on the highly touted project when, among other problems, its transit partner, Veolia Transport, lost its contract to serve the city. A tad chastened by the setback, Orange is unlikely to move boldly alone again in France.

Meanwhile, in the UK, Orange, the No. 3 mobile operator, plans to merge with No. 4 T-Mobile. Provided regulators approve the deal, it would create the country’s largest mobile telco–with more than 28 million subscribers and a combined share of more than 35% in the UK’s hypercompetitive market.

In March 2009, Orange UK joined Britain’s premier credit card issuer, Barclaycard, to announce plans to develop NFC payment and other services. The partnership could spawn a commercial launch as early as 2010. The pair in January 2010 launched a contactless credit card that offers users mobile transaction alerts.

Orange continues to play a key role in shaping NFC policy in France and beyond and was instrumental, along with other French telcos, in pushing the SIM as the preferred place to store secure applications in NFC phones. The GSM Association, the influential global mobile operator trade group, later adopted that SIM-centric model for NFC and has been pushing it on banks and other service providers.

The company is setting up its Orange Business Services wing as a trusted service manager to administer NFC applications on phones and other devices–although its flagship operator, Orange France, may decide to go outside the company for TSM services.

Orange also has major operations in Spain, Poland and other European countries, as well as the Middle East and Africa. It has experimented with a network-based mobile-payment service, Orange Money, in Africa.

Key figures: 
Customer Base – France 2009
2008
Change*
Subscribers 25.4 24.5 3.4%

Mobile, in millions, for Sept. of year indicated *For unrounded figures

Financial Results – France 1H 2009 1H 2008 Change
Revenue 5,373 5,049 6.4%
EBITA 558 561 -0.5%
Mobile operations, in millions of euros
Customer Base – UK 2009
2008
Change*
Subscribers 16.1 15.8 1.9%
Mobile, in millions, for Sept. of year indicated  *For unrounded figures
Financial Results – UK 1H 2009 1H 2008 Change
Revenue 2,451 2,499 1.9%
EBITA 558 561 -0.5%
Mobile operations, in millions of euros
Key NFC Personnel: 
Thierry Millet, VP, mobile payments and contactless services, group
Vincent Barnaud, head of marketing and innovation for electronic payments and transactions, group
Major NFC and Contactless competitors: 

France: SFR, Bouygues Telecom, UK: Telefónica O2, Vodafone

Last Updated: 
Jan 2012
Author: 
Balaban

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