Is Orange's network fit for the iPhone?

The waiting is over and the iPhone is now available on the Orange network, but what has Orange been doing behind the scenes to make sure all is well? We find out...

Chamber

Security is pretty tight.

"With every new technology that comes along, there's new monitoring that comes with it," said Michelle Willis, director of operations at Orange.

"It's an industry thing. We all face the same issues as it's much more complicated to monitor a service than it is an element. But I would much rather have the wall covered with customer service elements but we're not there yet."

SMC 1

A view of the SMC.

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At the front of this call centre-like hub is a wall of charts, graphs, heat maps and a TV featuring sky news. This isn't so the workers can keep tabs on their lottery numbers, more so they can keep track of any major weather issues or news items that may impact on network coverage.

SMC 2

The SMC as the workers see it.

"We can't deal with every eventuality, but if a digger digs through a fibre, we can re-route traffic and use our technical guys to reduce the impact," added Willis.

Orange also has contingencies in place to deal with cases of exceptional network load, the recent Glastonbury festival being a case in point, according to Tim Smith, Orange's head of networks.

In among the various charts, graphs and assorted statistical data on the wall, Orange employees can monitor the number of calls getting through. Colour codes alert them to any serious issues so they can deal with them speedily and, often, before they become a massive problem.

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"We're taking a lot of learnings from what we've seen in France with the iPhone. It gives us a lot of insight into customer behaviour and consumption," added Smith.

"What we've seen, not just on the iPhone but on other devices of a similar nature (smartphones, push), is users consume more data than the average user. The devices drive consumption."

Therefore Orange has to ensure that such activity doesn't interfere with network performance, be it from the iPhone, a dongle or any other device, according to Smith.

TMC

Orange's TMC.

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