Orange opens door to China

France Telecom is prioritizing service improvements in China, striking a deal with the country’s largest fixed line provider designed to boost coverage for Orange business customers.
The French incumbent is seeking to improve IP-based VPN services in China by outsourcing management to China Telecom, and is boosting Wi-Fi coverage through a reciprocal deal allowing customers of both operators to access hotspots while roaming.
China Telecom customers gain access to similar VPN services in Europe, and the two firms have also agreed to collaborate on network development, which includes researching new terrestrial and submarine cable links between Europe and Asia Pacific, and Africa.
“Both parties are set to benefit from close cooperation by enabling each other to provide better customer access and services in our respective regions, and support the development of our multinational business customers internationally,” France Telecom chief Stéphane Richard notes.
Although the agreement initially covers the enterprise and wholesale segments, the firms say it may be extended into other areas.
However, it is currently unclear if any extension would include China Telecom’s European division, which is currently seeking an MVNO partner in the region. Managing director Ou Yan told Telecoms the firm plans to have a UK operation up and running early next year. If that business is successful, the firm will look to open similar services in France and Germany, he said.