Bright future

Bright future

Steve Heald
Steve Heald

Orange has been at the top of the news for months thanks to its merger with T-Mobile in the UK. Boosted by that marriage, Orange has stated its intention to become the number one network for small and medium sized businesses, according to Orange sales director, Steve Heald. Here, Heald explains just how the operator intends to do that.

Orange and T-Mobile were given the green light to become one UK-based business on 1 March this year. This followed speculation that the European Commission would not allow the two operators to join forces due to the fact the resultant business would take the number one spot in terms of marketshare in the country. However, once the green light was given, both parties at Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom began to breathe easy and plan for the future.

Big business

With a combined customer base of around 29.5 million, the new joint venture company will be the number one player in the UK mobile market and it will be in a strong position to invest in innovative services and to exploit new technologies. It will offer major customer benefits, including expanded network coverage, enhanced network quality for 2G and 3G services, providing the platform for unparalleled mobile broadband offers as well as better customer proximity through a larger network of own shops and improved customer services.


Yet the T-Mobile and Orange UK brands will continue to operate in the UK for at least 18 months after the completion of the transaction. Orange is using this period to refresh and renew its commitment to the indirect channel, states Heald: “Our mission is to become the number one network partner in the small and medium sized business market in the UK. To support that we are announcing a three tier partner programme, reaching out to include IT reseller partners for the first time, as well as our mobile dealers.

“We are looking to replicate the formula of our existing partner programmes, which is only for mobile dealers. We understand the needs of IT resellers are different to those of mobile dealers, so we are adapting our partner programme to include and support them.”


Adding IT

Heald says the IT space has been growing alongside the mobile sector for the last few years, and gathering pace. He comments that Orange’s mobile partners have said they would like to work with Orange to develop bespoke solutions for customers, integrating IT into mobile. “All the elements exist in the marketplace; it’s about how you put them together to make a solution,” he notes.

“The point here is to deliver bespoke solutions. We have a strong distribution infrastructure, and there may be opportunities to link mobile and IT dealers together. But Orange can talk to both IT and mobile dealers to demystify mobile for the IT guys, and vice versa for our mobile partners,” explains Heald.

Orange will talk to its dealers some time in the second quarter to outline its plans for the new joint venture with T-Mobile, and to discuss how it will be working with its dealers going forward. The joint venture will give Orange dealers a business not only with a better network, but with the added benefit of more knowledge, experience and support, Heald claimed


Gain momentum

As outlined back in September 2009, the new joint venture company is expected to generate estimated synergies with a net present value in excess of Euro 4 billion (£3.5 billion). This continues to remain the case. The new business will have pro forma 2009 revenues of approximately Euro 8.5 billion (£7.57 billion) and EBITDA of Euro 1.55 billion (£1.38 billion).

“Our feeling is we have to gain momentum in the small and medium sized business market,” Heald remarks. “The joint venture we are announcing with T-Mobile will give us added network coverage and we will be the largest UK network, and we’ll grow that. We believe we have over 20% of the small, medium and enterprise business market already at Orange, and we will make that bigger.”

“We believe we have more opportunity in the small and medium end of the market, and we believe that extending our partner programme will give us an opportunity to grow into that space, to allow us to be more dominant and creative, and look at the longer term with more innovative solutions,” Heald prophesises.

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