France Telecom’s Orange set for SA launch

France Telecom’s Orange is set to announce the roll-out of its operations in South Africa and its group strategy, this week.

France’s Orange is the 7th largest network in the world, with in excess of 227 million subscribers, and is the third largest player in Africa behind MTN and Vodafone, operating in in 21 Middle East and African countries.

The group is currently doing a tour of South Africa as it is the headline sponsor for the Africa Cup of Nations football tournament being hosted in the country.

An invitation to the media

“Orange invites you to a press conference and luncheon on its sponsorship of the Orange Africa Cup of Nations, SOUTH AFRICA 2013 tournament and the launch of its operations in
South Africa.
“Leon-Charles Ciss, vice president marketing of AMEA operations will present Orange’s sponsorship program and promotional initiatives, and Sébastien Crozier, managing director of Orange Horizons will present the roll-out of operations and the Group’s strategy in South Africa.”

A spokesperson for Orange confirmed that the group would launch an online store in South Africa, and partnering with several suppliers, it would make available a host of new products including the Kindle and various handsets.

While additional details could not be obtained, it has long been speculated that Orange might enter the local market, with Frost & Sullivan forecasting the arrival of new mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) into the country in 2012.

The research and advisory group noted that South Africa’s third operator, Cell C could be a potential entry point for a large player like Orange.

It was also reported that Orange was in M&A discussions with local ICT group, Business Connexion. However, the French giant quashed the rumour.

Africa

Earlier this week, Reuters reported that France Telecom aimed to ramp up its presence on the continent by entering Benin, Togo, Burkina Faso and Mauritania.

Elie Girard, head of strategy and development, expressed additional plans for Africa including potential management contracts with telecom operators in North Africa’s Libya and Algeria.

“If we manage to enter Benin, Togo, Burkina (Faso) and Mauritania, for example, that would be very valuable for us,” he told reporters at a briefing in London.

Ace subsea cable

In December 2012, France Telecom Orange announced that the Africa Coast to Europe (Ace) submarine cable was operational for the first phase linking France and Sao Tomé & Principe.

The cable, which will extend down to South Africa for the second phase, provides connectivity to broadband internet in Africa and will add extra capacity to existing international networks, France Telecom Orange said.

With 13 countries already linked in the first phase, the cable will ultimately run for a total of approximately 17,000 km, with seven additional countries connected in the second phase.

More on Orange and mobile networks:

The world’s largest mobile networks

Orange to throw hat in SA telecoms ring?

Ace subsea cable up and running

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France Telecom’s Orange set for SA launch