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Orange pledges to push out 4G LTE across Europe

The mobile operator said it will deliver super-fast data services in the UK and nine other EU countries by 2015, part of a series of Digital Agenda-related promises it has made to the European Commission
Written by Ben Woods, Contributor

Orange has promised that within three years, it will deliver 'ultra-fast' 4G LTE data services in the UK and the nine other European Union countries in which it operates.

Orange sign

Orange has said it will deliver super-fast data services in the UK and nine other EU countries by 2015, as part of 10 pledges it has made to the European Commission. Image credit: Jon Yeomans

The mobile operator made the pledge at a meeting with the European Commission in Brussels on Tuesday, where it made 10 commitments designed to help the EU fulfil its Digital Agenda goals. However, it also stressed the authorities have a part to play in creating an environment in which implementing new technologies is viable.

"[Orange will] roll out 4G/LTE networks in all Orange European Union markets by 2015. We welcome the EU decision to make more spectrum available, in a timely and harmonised manner, to wireless services in the EU, and look forward to further, similar initiatives to help us cope with the massive growth in public data use," the company said in its announcement.

"Europe could do a great deal to promote a more favourable environment for the rollout of radio access networks," it added.

Everything Everywhere, a joint venture between Orange and T-Mobile in the UK, has said it is ready to deploy 4G LTE services before the end of 2012 by 'refarming' its 2G spectrum. Ofcom has said it is "minded" to agree to the re-use of spectrum and is carrying out a consultation on the proposal.

Europe could do a great deal to promote a more favourable environment for the rollout of radio access networks.
– Orange

The operator also promised to invest in fixed-line broadband services in France. It said it will bring fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) to 15 million households and 80 percent of businesses in that country by 2020. Outside of France, Orange said it plans to "participate in the rollout of very high-speed broadband in our European markets".

Once again, though, Orange called on the Commission to create a regulatory environment where businesses would have an incentive to put money into such schemes.

"This ambitious investment plan requires technologically neutral regulation and broadband price stability in order to maintain the incentive — and ability — to invest," Orange said. "Regulation should give priority to private investment, complemented by public investment where needed."

Beyond communications, the company's 10 promises to the European Commission cover areas such as cloud computing, contactless and secure payments, and privacy.

In payments, the company is asking the Commission to encourage more people and businesses to use services based on near-field communications (NFC). For its part, it expects to supply three million SIM-based NFC devices this year, and 10 million by 2013.

In cloud computing, Orange has said it will "offer all EU companies high-quality and secure access to services from green datacentres located in Europe; and ensure our customers retain full ownership of their data files at all times and can easily secure their return (reversibility)".

It did not say how this commercial offer dovetails with the Commission's cloud strategy, which has legal frameworks, technical and commercial fundamental elements, and the support of pilot cloud deployments as its three main pillars.

As for privacy, the operator promised to provide customers with a personal data dashboard by 2015. This will have tools for "consumers to monitor and manage" their personal information and allow people to opt in or out of sharing data with third parties, among other features.

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