Orange is one of the biggest telecoms operators in the EMEA region. By the end of 2020, it served some 259m customers in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, offering a range of mobile, fixed line and broadband services, including streaming TV. Mobile alone accounted for 214m customers, and fixed broadband for 22m. In several markets it offers financial services, following the acquisition of insurer Groupama's banking division, now Orange Bank. The business has evolved dramatically over the past 30 years. At the end of the 1990s, France's state-controlled communications group, then known as France Telecom, had expansion on its mind, establishing footholds in other European territories, not least the UK, where it snapped up local mobile service Orange - which had originally been launched by Hutchison Telecom - as well as internet service Freeserve. However, the shopping spree brought with it substantial debts, which had risen to €70bn by 2002. That year the group almost outdid Vivendi for record corporate losses as it wrote off the value of failed investments. A new management team gradually restored the group's fortunes and began the slow process of reducing its debt mountain. In 2006, France Telecom unveiled an ambitious restructuring program in which all its worldwide mobile, internet and business communications businesses were merged under the acquired Orange brandname. As the group focused more intently on its international operations, the France Telecom name was retired into the background, and finally dropped altogether in 2013. Since then, Orange has been gradually unpicking its network of less profitable foreign investments, selling off weaker units to focus on a handful of major markets. In 2016, in the biggest such deal, it sold its share of leading UK mobile carrier EE to BT. Group revenues for 2020 were €42.3bn with net income of €3.0bn. France remains Orange's biggest market by far, accounting for over 42% of revenues. Spain and Poland are the two next most important by revenues, but the group's largest customerbase is in Africa & the Middle East, where it has more than 128m mostly pre-paid mobile customers spread across 18 countries. The French state continues to own a 23% stake in the group. Stephane Richard was chairman & CEO for more than a decade until 2021. Christel Heydemann succeeded him as CEO in 2022, and a new chairman is still to be appointed.
Capsule checked 30th October 2020
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Which agencies handle advertising for Orange? Find out more from the Account Assignments database.
Advertising expense of Orange? See ranking of Declared Advertising Costs
Who are the competitors of Orange? Major competitors include Free, Altice and Bouygues in France; Telefonica and Vodafone in Spain; T-Mobile and Polkomtel in Poland; and MTN in several Afican markets. See Telecoms Index for other companies
Historical profile information for Orange
Marketer Moves 25th Nov 2021: New CEO TBC at Orange. See Marketer Moves (members only).
Adbrands Social Media 17th Jun 2019: "JCVD". Say what you like about Jean-Claude van Damme, but he's certainly game for a laugh. Ever since the effective end of his martial arts movie career, he's reinvented himself as a cartoon version of Jean-Claude van Damme for advertisers. And for the most part his choices of campaign have been excellent; whether freezing his socks off halfway up a mountain for Coors Light or performing the ultimate split for Volvo Trucks. In this latest campaign for Orange in Belgium, Publicis Brussels has resurrected CP&B's seminal "Subservient Chicken" concept, originally conceived for Burger King. Click through from these promo spots to the dedicated Orange website and you can help write your own script (with a few necessary limitations of course) for Jean-Claude to perform just for you.
Adbrands Weekly Update 22nd Nov 2018: Ads of the Week "The Gifts of Christmas". At last, the truth about Christmas. For French mobile giant Orange, Publicis Conseil tells it how it is with an enormously entertaining catalogue of Yuletide catastrophes. And all set to one of those relentlessly jolly American seasonal jingles. Perhaps not everyone's end of the year holidays are quite like this, but we've all been there at some point or other. And we're not sure a new phone at the end of it makes up for all the suffering! Joyeux Noel tout le monde!
Adbrands Social Media 28th Aug 2018: "Unlimited Calls". There's no better excuse than a phone call to let you get out of those annoying everyday inconveniences. That's the concept behind the latest campaign from Publicis Brussels for Orange Belgium, highlighting the mobile carrier's new unlimited calls plan. This couple seem to have that trick nailed - it's just a question of who gets there first.
Adbrands Weekly Update 19th Jul 2018: Ads of the Week "The Thread". Publicis Conseil delivers another excellent campaign for local mobile giant Orange, demonstrating the power of a mobile connection to resolve any temporary hiccups in any relationship. It's a cute way to illustrate the idea. How much better would it have been if this couple had added a tin can at either end of the thread to talk through? (Not better at all, actually). Lovely luminous photography, too, in what look like a variety of different countries but were probably all the same one with the help of clever set dressing.
Adbrands Weekly Update 22nd Dec 2016: Ads of the Week: "Big Christmas". Getting in just under the wire ahead of Christmas Day, here's a funny seasonal spot from Publicis Conseil for French telecoms giant Orange. Two neighbours go head-to-head for the best Christmas decorations. You'll be glad *your* neighbours don't go in for this sort of thing, or you'd never sleep a wink.
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