11:09 AM

Thought Leader Exclusive: Olaf Swantee Head of Euro Telco Orange Mobile Says Sustainability Biggest Challenge

Sustainability and the availability of spectrum are among the largest challenges for European telcos says Olaf Swantee, head of Orange Mobile, a subsidiary of France Telecom.

Orange is one of the largest and fastest growing European mobile carriers. It operates in 28 countries and runs 18 R&D centers around the world. It spends about 2 per cent of revenues on R&D, far more than US carriers. It is part of its strategy to avoid the commoditization trends in mobile and distinguish itself from the competition.

I met last week with Olaf Swantee, head of Orange Mobile at the Orange Labs, San Francisco:

Yahoo, Google and Blip.tv

Some highlights from the interview:

- Orange has a close relationship with Apple and co-develops certain technologies.

- It also invests in content which is responsible for about 6 per cent of revenues.

- Normal user uses 30 KB of data per month, Orange's iPhone users use abut 90 MBytes per month. Blackberry users use about 1 to 2 MBytes per month.

- Orange is very keen on building a seamless mobile internet, despite the high costs of investment in building out its wireless data networks. It is doubling the size of its data network every year.

- Mr Swantee says sustainability is one of the biggest challenges for Orange. Larger data networks use more energy, require more bay stations and will require more spectrum.

- European regulators are a problem.

- WiMAX is not seen as a solution to the spectrum bottleneck issue.

- Orange is looking at Google phone and partnering on search.

Also on camera is Yves Martin, Chief of Staff. Off camera is Georges Nahon CEO of Orange Labs San Francisco, and Pascale Diaine.