The new neutral status of the towerco is so that it can sell services to other operators.
Orange has launched its tower division as an independent European towerco. The operator says this is because the management of property and passive mobile infrastructure assets becomes a separate discipline demanding its own skillset.
Orange group’s Chair and CEO, Stéphane Richard (pictured) claims the mobile operator group has amassed exceptional operational expertise by dint of its scale, which can be sold to other operators.
The creation of a separate entity creates a legal framework by which it can open these assets up to other operators.
Hyperscaler of towers
Totem comprises the assets of Orange in France and Spain which currently include 26,000 sites. Totem France is to manage 18,500 macro-sites, of which 58 per cent are towers, 30 per cent are flat roofs and 12 per cent are in other locations. In Spain Totem’s 7,900 macro-sites are equally divided into tower sites and flat roofs.
Beyond France and Spain, Orange’s biggest areas of activity, Totem will be examining its options in the European nations where it has passive mobile infrastructure assets.
Totem’s primary offering is network sharing as a neutral and independent service provider. Infrastructure sharing options for operators will include better coverage and connections in dense and enclosed environments. Totem could give unfettered access to hostile territory such as stadiums, underground stations, trains and offices.
No CSP excels in commercial property
It’s the non-technical side of infrastructure building that undoes many ambitious network builders, however. One data centre consultant said many companies get their fingers burnt on the commercial property market as they have no idea of its hidden complexities and fall into any number of money pits.
Totem aims to save its mobile operator clients from this pain by offering a portfolio of asset management backed by what it claims to be ‘proven operational excellence’.
Leave landlord conversations to Totem
Its claims for managerial qualities include ‘significant team expertise, thorough understanding of the digital needs and uses of operators and their clients, a recognised role as an advisor on network construction and maintenance, a strong, long-standing relationship with landlords and access to elusive sustainable energy sources’.
‘As a neutral player in the TowerCo market, Totem has all the in-house skills required for construction programs and turnkey deployments,’ Orange’s statement said.
“By retaining control of our infrastructure, we have made a crucial decision for our future growth,” said Orange CEO Richard.