The new strategy will focus on the accelerated rollout of fibre and tower infrastructure across the continent

Increased competition and uncertainty has slowed the growth of some of Europe’s largest telecoms companies. Nonetheless, at an Orange Europe event in London yesterday, a host of the company’s regional CEO’s were adamant about the region’s unrealised potential.   
“Europe remains an exciting, dynamic region with room for growth,” said Ramon Fernandez, delegate chief executive officer of finance, performance and Europe at Orange, during the opening address. 
At the core of this new strategy, Orange has plans to build a host of new tower companies.
“In 2020, we will start the process of setting up dedicated tower companies in France and Spain and will we further examine the potential to extend this to other countries,” said Fernandez.
Orange Europe currently has around 40,000 sites in Europe, 23,000 of which are tower sites. 
RAN sharing will continue to be a key aspect of this infrastructure strategy, with the executives keen to point out the company’s RAN sharing agreement with Vodafone in Spain and more recently with Proximus in Belgium. 
“Other agreements could follow,” said Fernandez. “These new RAN sharing agreements will improve customer experience and will generate significant savings in opex and capex that we estimate to be around €10 billion over a ten-year period.”
Besides making significant economic sense, these RAN sharing agreements also work on an environmental level, reducing the need for more infrastructure as well as energy usage.
“If we want to save the planet, we need to be in a position to share,” said Fernandez.
Fibre will also see significant growth as part of this strategy, with Orange’s fibre reach expected to hit 70 million households by 2023, both alone and in partnership with third parties.
All of this, Orange hopes, will be further bolstered by the widescale roll out of 5G, which it launched in Romania in November last year. The company aims to have the next generation tech launched in all its European locations by 2021. 
That will, of course, be reliant on attaining the “required and scare” spectrum, which Fernandez described as the company’s “first challenge in 2020”.
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