Orange Concessions (OC) was officially launched on November 5, thus fulfilling one of the commitment of Engage 2025 to accelerate the deployment of very high broadband (VHB) in local areas in France. This is the result of a very strong mobilization of the Group's and Orange SA's teams, and in particular Orange Wholesale France (OWF). Indeed, OWF has led, with Sofrecom's support, a major transformation to prepare the launch of Orange Concessions and to be one of its key supplier. A small revolution.
Bénédicte Javelot, Director of Orange Wholesale France, reveals this amazing challenge.
Orange Concessions is a strategic project on which OWF teams have been strongly involved with Sofrecom's support: in which specific environment was this partnership developed?
The decision to create Orange Concessions was taken two years ago in a time of great pressure on fiber deployment capex and when we wanted to pursue our growth in rural areas too. By raising capital from non-Group investors, while retaining 50/50 joint control, we were able to achieve this ambition.
Orange Concessions, an infrastructure provider in which Orange joins a consortium of 3 major shareholders (La Banque des Territoires, EDF Invest and CNP Assurances), is now the strong arm for our expansion in the rural territories.
Sofrecom has closely accompanied us for almost 18 months on this strategic project. Thanks to its experience in operator transformation and in FTTH deployment - especially in RIPs (Public Initiative Networks) in France - Sofrecom proved to be the right partner for this project.
The roadmap, for all stakeholders, was very challenging: lead the "carve out" of our RIPs department, but also carry out the deal with the M&A teams, while ensuring RIP business continuity until the closing of the transaction, and thus make a "flying start"!
What has really changed today between Orange SA and Orange Concessions? What is OWF's role?
First and most fundamentally, we have shifted to a new business approach. Orange SA -including OWF- has today a customer-provider relationship with Orange Concessions. We must fulfill all our operational performance commitments based on agreements signed according to "market standards". For example, they include the deployment time for fiber outlets and the recovery time in case of an operational incident.
On the practical side, Orange SA (OSA) is the preferred partner of Orange Concessions: OSA designs, builds and operates the networks covered by the concession. OSA also supports, via OWF, all the customer processes: Sales - Delivery - Billing - Payment - After-sales service, as well as the Wholesale marketing offers and the commercial IS.
OWF is still a major player in Orange Concessions' operating structure.
This new framework led us to re-design our organization. Sofrecom's expertise and know-how have been a major advantage in carrying out these structural changes.
This transformation has also been an important cultural change for our teams. Even if we keep working with the same stakeholders as before, they are now OWF's customers. And they will also enjoy the full advantage of the Customer Culture Program that I implemented when I joined OWF.
How did you plan the OC launch with Sofrecom?
In a nutshell, our objective was to setup the organizational scheme we had designed in order to manage relationships between OWF and Orange Concessions, its new customer Operator.
In a nutshell, our objective was to setup the organizational scheme we had designed in order to manage relationships between OWF and Orange Concessions, its new customer Operator. Sofrecom, selected to carry out this plan, has really been of great support to us. Thanks to a tight and tight co-steering of several work streams with the OWF teams, Sofrecom helped to organize interactions by embedding the numerous stakeholders.
Sofrecom helped us to draw up a full agreement package (with industrial agreements, IS agreements, accounting, and legal support agreements, etc.) to allow OSA to manage in a customer-supplier mode as I just described.
Sofrecom also assisted us in the organizational transformation towards the customer Orange Concessions, in particular around Contract managers and SPOC (Single Person of Contact), in order to clearly formalize the expectations of this new customer, and to monitor a smooth "contract life".
In addition, in order to meet our new contractual commitments as effectively as possible, we sped up the industrialization of our processes and our core business services, as well as their digitalization.
As a result, we have achieved the two-fold goal of successfully launching Orange Concessions while keeping up the high level of business activities on the RIPs. All this was achieved thanks to a dedicated organization, set up during a health crisis, and very largely in remote working mode.
Moreover, we must not forget that despite the exceptional workload that this extraordinary project represented for our teams, OWF continued its other business activities and maintained its economic performance, thanks to strong and collective team spirit!
Two months after opening, can you highlight the key lessons learned from this project?
First, it's a great success, as shown for by the exceptional valuation of Orange Concessions at nearly 2.7 billion euros. It is the result of a great job: diverting assets, "marrying", transforming an organization, while also pursuing business as usual, is a feat that the OSA teams have achieved with Sofrecom's support.
And we are all very proud of it.
But let's be clear, this is the ending of a long project, but above all the beginning of a great adventure! The challenge for Orange Concessions is to demonstrate to local authorities that it is an essential partner, ready to conquer new territories. And it is as a Board member, representing the shareholder Orange, that I will be supporting this ambition in the coming years.