FT-Orange's Thierry Bonhomme discusses the network challenges brought on by new devices, developing markets and the future.

Eurocomms.com: How much pressure is the number and variety of new devices putting on your network currently, and can you outline the most effective strategies or technologies you are using to combat this pressure?

Thierry Bonhomme: First of all, this is good pressure, it is nice to have new devices coming to the market. Second, these launches are anticipated, for example we work with chipset makers in advance of devices development.

We have put in place an organisation and a process at Orange group level to manage the volume of new devices and new features.

Complementary to the tests defined by the Global Certification Forum, we develop our own tests.

We have a device technology team that tests new chipsets when they come into the market.

You are rolling out next gen networks currently; what is the greatest challenge you have faced when rolling out 4G LTE networks, for example?

Regarding LTE networks deployment, the main challenge is ensuring full end-to-end performance at launch. 

New devices are coming at the same time when networks are being deployed and network manufacturers are enriching their solutions.

Our job and challenge is to ensure full integration and end to end performance on the field.

Can you outline the different challenges that you face in network strategy and design between developing and developed markets?

The situation is quite different. In developed market, the main challenge is LTE, mobile data performance and economic efficiency.

In emerging markets, the challenge is to  provide broadband, and that means deploying 3G, but also ensuring national and international backbones capacity, introducing packet and IP in all parts of the network.

Introducing IP in these countries requires significant training and process upgrade, because it increases significantly the complexity of the network.

How much further can you drive down network costs without affecting performance?

We have been very active in reducing the network costs through network sharing and outsourcing of some activities.

But we take great care to fully keep control of customer performance and service delivery, for example the teams to monitor services quality and customer experience.

As we move towards an IP-based future, what are you most excited by from a networks point of view?

Moving from voice based networks to data centric networks and the large opportunities this opens for new services.

Services such as Joyn that fully take benefit of IP data networks are indicative of the great potential of all-IP networks to seed new services. 

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