Admitting that data already accounted for a much larger part of France Telecom Orange's bandwidth than voice, the company's CEO, Stephane Richard, has revealed that he expected 10 times more data traffic in two years time than seen in its network today.
Speaking yesterday at the LeWeb conference in Paris, Richard accepted that this would present challenges in terms of traffic management and network investment, adding that "It's good news: it means that there are new users, and there is an area for growth."
"We don't have any problems in terms of managing the capacity today. But clearly we have to anticipate the future. Ten times more traffic in two years time? It's huge! We have to prepare the next generation, especially the 4G and LTE equipment," said the CEO.
The company would also appear to be following the route adopted by other European operators, by progressively switching subscribers away from unlimited data tariff plans.
"In the face of a traffic explosion, clearly we have to be more efficient in the network management, and that will lead us to work on specific plans that will give differentiated access according to quality of service, and probably the period of time in the day or week."
Richard stressed that this shift wasn't necessarily about consumers paying more, but about managing the "scarce resource" of bandwidth. "Nobody can accept the situation where 10 per cent of people are consuming 70 per cent of the resource."
At the same event, Orange announced the launch of its Partner Connect programme that will see it offering developers a 70/30 revenue share on any apps they sell via the Orange App Shop.
One key aspect of the programme would appear to be that Orange is offering to help developers with app creation and the chance to invest a percentage of their initial earnings back in promoting their products on the Orange App Store itself.
Orange subscribers will not only be able to pay in their local currency but also via their phone bills.
Interestingly, Orange admitted that this new developer programme would be heavily weighted towards Android given that the company expects the OS to be appearing on up to 50 per cent of Orange's devices by 2013.
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