HomeFinancial/RegulationFrance Telecom CEO admits "arrogant" image

    France Telecom CEO admits “arrogant” image


    Proposes possible cap on mobile contract lengths to foster innovation

    Stephane Richard, CEO and President of France Telecom, has admitted that his company is viewed as arrogant. Richard said that the company would work hard to mend relations with its staff and turn its image around.

    Speaking on May 4th at a conference run by the French telecomms regulator ARCEP, Richard said, “I would like to take this opportunity here to say that our image is not very good. We have the image of an arrogant company, but it is not a true image of our company. We have to make a lot of progress to improve that image. “

    Referring to what he termed the “tragedy” of the most recent employees’ suicide, Richard said, “We also have to be a company that listens more to its employees and really have to see to it that our employees are fulfiled in their careers. France Telecom is submitted to considerable pressures, and employees do not see a future for their work. This explains why they are disastisfied; we are continuing to change that.”

    Richard also laid down five wishes, or proposals for the industry – one of which included a proposal to cap mobile contract lengths at six or twelve months.

    The five proposals were were:
    1. Building a “new internet model” that links usage more accurately to pricing. The current model that sees operators responsible for investment without seeing revenue increases is “not sustainable for the long term”.
    2. Stability in the regulatory framework. “We have to carry out huge investments in fixed and mobile networks, but no investment is possible without knowing exactly what kind of return it is going to have, and what kind of practical implementations will be imposed. For example, forced separation of networks and services leads to destruction of value in the long term.
    3. Switch from a consumer-based approach to a genuine industrial strategy in Europe. “In order to foster investment, the government should leave private operators to explore new business models to better finance those investments.” Or maybe we could cap to 6 or 12 months the length of mobile supply offers, I believe that this could be favourable to the consumers and our industry in the long term.
    4 Interoperability. “The European regulator has to extend the concept of net neutrality to all the range of value. Content bought on one screen should be transferrable to all other screens. We are far from that goal. We need to more rapidly industrialise our services and open up to other patners when it is necessary, for co-opeation in new areas, or to defend European interests. This is what I started a few months ago with my counterparts, the five main European operators, to step up this co-operation and optimise our databases in markets where cost reduction opportunities are limited.
    5 Security. Operators have an opportunity to provide security of services and of personal data for users, across a range of services.