Ovum comment: Orange Business Services partners with iPass for remote access services

Ovum/Jeremy Green and Pauline Trotter
11 Jun 2007

The relentless advance of iPass continues with the announcement of a new partnership with Orange Business Services to target the MNC market. The two plan to offer a new remote access service which will bundle multiple forms of access, including 3G/HSDPA, WiFi and home DSL and the iPassConnect software client. Orange is to drop its own enterprise remote access client and to offer the new jointly developed product as Business Everywhere V6. IT manager and reporting tools will also be developed jointly.

The new service will use the Orange brand; iPass will continue to offer its own service, in France and elsewhere. Orange will make its own access footprint, including its 3G network, available to users of the new service; combined with iPass's footprint, which is an aggregation of access agreements with multiple players including T-Mobile (indeed a further announcement on this agreement was made today), this will be an attractive proposition to users. The two will be delivered via a combined 'customised directory' built into the client. However, the partnership does not mean that Orange's footprint will necessarily become available to iPass's other customers - this is not a roaming deal like those iPass has made with other carriers. According to both Orange and iPass, this is something that is still being discussed.

Ovum principal analysts Jeremy Green and Pauline Trotter comment:

Orange is clearly targeting its multinational customers, whose complex mobility requirements often extend to upwards of 150 countries and include cellular, WiFi and home DSL access. It believes that the new proposition will enable a consistent user experience across geographies and access methods and, together with the end-to-end management of Business Everywhere, will strengthen its position in this market. Orange believes that the single user interface, 24/7 support, strong administration and reporting tools and professional services support are an essential for these leading customers. Orange will initially focus its efforts with version 6 on new multinational customers, but it also intends to proactively migrate existing Business Everywhere customers to the new version. It does not intend to extend the product to smaller customers - it will continue to invest in its in-house developed client for consumers, SMEs and national enterprises.

Orange claims that the joint service is already in use, in that customised solutions based on the components which will go into the commercial version are already deployed to 15,000 end users.

The service is expected to debut for pilot customers this summer, and to become commercially available in November. Over this period Orange and iPass plan to add improved functionality into the software client, including additional support for public mobile networks (through better signal strength tools, for example) and advanced credentials management. At the same time the access footprint of the combined offering will be improved - for example, the number of hotspots is expected to increase from 57,000 at present to 95,000 by November.

The move is clearly a good one for both parties, if a slightly humbling one for Orange. iPass will gain access to Orange Business Service's channels and consultancy assets, as well as the capabilities of the Orange mobile data network. Orange deepens its relationship with what is fast becoming the brand leader in the remote access software market. What's not to like‾

Jeremy Green is a principal analyst specialising in enterprise mobility.

Pauline Trotter is a principal analyst specialising in enterprise communications, and is responsible for Ovum's research among enterprise users, from SMEs to large multinationals.

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