SFR Business, the second B2B operator behind Orange, completes the integration of Completel, Telindus France and Numergy. This calls for a new commercial organization.
We kind of forgot about it after a particularly turbulent year in 2015 with the acquisition by Altice, Patrick Drahi’s conglomerate, but SFR also has an important business division. “We have a million B2B customers worldwide,” Pascal Rialland, former boss of the same business at SFR, said last November. Recently appointed boss of Altice’s B2B division, the latter will say little more about the potential synergies with its various B2B businesses around the world (Portugal Telecom, Orange Dominicana, Hot in Israel, as well as Suddenlink and Cablevision – two American cable operators recently acquired by Altice).
SFR weighs 20% of the French BtoB communication market
Nevertheless, with 2.2 billion euros in B2B turnover, SFR weighs about 20% of the French business communications market (market valued by Arcep at 10.1 billion euros in 2014). With 3,970 employees and 250 “Espaces SFR Business”, the B2B division counts 190,000 customer companies, from VSEs to CAC 40 companies. to integrate Completel (ex-B2B division of Numéricable) and Telindus France, an integrator inherited from Vivendi.
With a turnover of approximately 350 million euros, the former Completetel represents a significant contribution to SFR Business, even if the new group had to divest the former DSL activity of Completel, sold to Kosc Telecom, a consortium, including OVH, created to meet the requirements of the Competition Authority. Another contribution, that of Telindus France (about 250 million euros turnover), a specialist in the exploitation of IT infrastructures of Vivendi, which logically joined the B2B division of the new group.
With a new commercial organization based on the principle of a single point of contact for the entire offer (fixed, mobile, network services, security, CRM, cloud, M2M, Internet of things, data centers), Guillaume de Lavallade, new director of SFR Business since September 2015 and former director of B2B customer relations at SFR, considers himself well-equipped to consolidate its position as number two in France among companies, particularly in the fixed-line sector – which accounts for two-thirds of ‘activity’. “We are ahead of Orange in the number of municipalities for which companies are eligible for fiber optic”, says the director of SFR Business (1). “We are present [toujours dans la fibre] 95% of cities with more than 50,000 inhabitants and 50% of business parks with more than 20 employees are eligible – with a target of 70% by the end of 2017,” he continues. A way for SFR Business to redefine the commitment confirming the group, sometimes controversially among individuals, in favor of fiber optics (2).
Added value emphasized in disaster recovery plans
Another differentiator: the business recovery plans (PRA) of operators of vital importance (OIV) in areas such as energy, transportation, sanitation, hospitals or even civil security, where telecom plays a vital role. Same analysis regarding cybersecurity. “We have less and less equipment on site and systematically prefer our points of presence and our data centers,” assures Guillaume de Lavallade.
Numergy offering integration is in full swing
In the cloud, the integration of Numergy, after the 100% acquisition by SFR, is underway under the leadership of Guy Roussel, the former boss of the sovereign cloud regulator. A logical recovery to the extent that Numergy relied solely on SFR servers before its majority shareholder (47%) took control. “We are in the process of integrating the two portfolios,” confirms Guillaume de Lavallade, noting that SFR will maintain an OpenStack offering.
On the distribution side, the operator acts either directly, through its 1,800 representatives and its Business Spaces, or through LTI Telecom and Futur, two specialist operators resulting from the acquisition of Completel, now responsible for running a network of 650 independent partners for VSEs /SME.
Nevertheless, SFR Business is far behind Orange Business Services (OBS), with a market share of more than 60% (or even more, depending on the offers). A dimension that has not escaped the attention of the Competition Authority which, after a long investigation by Bouygues and SFR, has just fined Orange EUR 350 million for “abuse of a dominant position” in the corporate market.
Acquisition of Bouygues Telecom Entreprises: SFR Business vigilant
A somewhat anachronistic situation as the Authority itself recognizes that this situation still persists today! Which, incidentally, raises the question of the future of Bouygues Telecom Entreprises (which has a turnover of about 600 million euros) in a merger between Bouygues Telecom and Orange. Asked by the JDN, SFR Business makes no specific comment, except to recall the regulatory hurdles this could pose and the need to be extremely vigilant regarding the already significant weight of OBS in this market. An analysis to be compared with the conditions imposed by the Competition Authority on the acquisition of SFR by Numéricable, under which Completel must then separate from its DSL network due to a “risk of a duopoly with Orange” in certain geographic areas. Which is not surprising given that the other B2B players, mainly Bouygues Telecom Entreprises and Colt, lag far behind with about 6% and 3% market share respectively…
(1) 710 municipalities according to SFR; 480 common for Orange according to Ariase, a site specializing in comparing telecom operators’ offers, quoted by SFR.
(2) Around 2.5 million households connected via FTTH, compared to 5.2 in FTTB, ie 7.7 . in total million households eligible for fiber in November 2015, according to SFR, all technologies combined.