Orange in talks with Telkom over mobile arm?

French-based mobile operator Orange SA says it wants to have the technical ability that comes from owning part of a mobile network in South Africa, to offer services to its customers.

This follows rumours that the company has approached Telkom over its mobile business, after the latter noted in November that it was in discussions with parties over future operations.

The french firm already has a presence in South Africa, having launched Orange Horizons as a subsidiary dedicated to seeking out new business opportunities, in January 2013.

The group already sells products in South Africa through its website, and has a business unit serving high profile companies in the mining, and petroleum industry.

In a recent interview with BusinessTech, Orange Horizons CEO, Sébastien Crozier said that, given the spectrum, “we could enter the market as a real player,” but only through an agreement with an existing player to be on its network.

“Orange has made no secret that, should the regulatory framework be in place, being a player in the South African mobile market is of high interest. Orange is delighted [by] the current talks of a decrease around termination rates,” the group said in a statement to BusinessTech on Wednesday.

“As Orange has stated before, the company hasn’t ruled out becoming a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) in South Africa, but this would depend on the regulatory environment and licensing requirements.”

“If becoming an MVNO requires [us] to purchase frequencies, this is something we would consider.”

“Orange doesn’t want to just be a brand MVNO, Orange wants to offer services to customers and have [the] technical ability that comes from owning part of the network and be able to offer easy access to content, VoIP, video and so on,” Orange said.

The group said it is “very happy” with the ventures launched in South Africa since January 2013.

“The Orange Online Store is performing above objectives and confirms our assessment that the market was ready for a reliable, broad-range, premium high-tech products e-merchant.”

Additional firms linked to a deal with Telkom include a Malaysian investment firm, MTN, and Cell C.

More on Orange and Telkom

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Orange in talks with Telkom over mobile arm?