Orange announced today its new industrial project, "conquests 2015." After NExT from Didier Lombard, the recently appointed CEO is now communicating Orange's five-year action plan.

One of the main objectives of the plan is the "conquest of employee pride" and the recruitment of 10,000 additional employees (including the 3,500 already announced for 2010) between 2010 and 2012. Following the unprecedented social crisis that took place in France, the company had no other choice than to offer a new management vision and to make sure employees can participate in the future of the company, involving them in such a way that they feel part of a long-term project.

Beyond this initial objective, a couple of other interesting conquests have been announced:

  • The conquest of networks. France Telecom has always been considered as having an extreme position in the media/content value chain (acquiring football rights, creating its own TV channels in France, and more recently potentially investing in Le Monde). The wording is interesting here. As per the press release, Orange reaffirms that "its networks are its core business and its future." It doesn't clearly articulate the importance of content for these networks, but my understanding is that Orange will progressively step back from its intial position. Orange also announced it will invest €2 billion by 2015 to deploy a new fibre optic network.
  • The conquest of customers. Orange wants to become a "multimedia coach" for its customers by working alongside them to make their digital lives easier. That's an interesting approach, showing the potential new role of operators. In this regard, the Orange Care strategy is one of the most interesting initiatives from a telco.
  • The conquest of international development. The company stated it was planning to grow from close to 200 million customers at present to 300 million by 2015. To do so, it is ready to acquire externally for a net total consideration of €5 billion to €7 billion. Expect some more acquisitions in the Middle East and Africa in the coming years.

Operators undoubtedly have to react quickly in this fast-changing ecosystem. Even if details are scarce at this stage — more information will be shared in Q4 2010 — Orange's intent to share a vision for the next five years is very welcome. I wish more operators had the courage to share such a bold vision.