On Thursday (13 June) Orange announced a partnership with Nashua Mobile, to open its first retail outlets in SA outside of its current operator footprint.
Both the online and physical stores – totaling four in three cities, Cape Town, Johannesburg, and Pretoria – will offer SIM cards from the Orange footprint, starting with France and Botswana.
These will be marketed in particular for professionals or tourists travelling from South Africa to countries in which Orange is already present.
“We have incoming into this country in excess of 500,000 Orange customers per annum. They don’t have anywhere to go and get serviced at the moment,” Taylor said.
The chief executive said that he hoped the overseas visitors would bring family and friends into the store for “additional spin-off”.
Taylor also pointed to a future scenario which would see locals needing an Orange SIM when travelling abroad.
“We will offer our customers an Orange card for when they go overseas, because I’m tired of our customers being ripped off …the international roaming rates are obscene. There is absolutely no reason for it,” he said.
“We like the concept of the partnership. We will see how much we like each other. If they decide to come in as an MVNO, potentially we could do the billing and collection service for them,” the company lead said.
“Will we drive it as our main service? Absolutely not,” he stressed, noting Nashua’s current strong relationship with Vodacom, MTN, and Cell C. “We are also busy evolving our relationship with Telkom at the moment,” Taylor said. “For us, it’s all about choice.”
Looking outside of SA?
Taylor said that Nashua Mobile plans an aggressive roll out of its retail distribution. With a current total of 150 (retail stores), he said that the group would like to position itself in another 50 malls in the next two years.
When questioned if the group would look to enter territories outside of SA, Taylor said: “Currently we are spending millions in revamping our systems. Our systems are old, they aren’t at the level where they should have been…we’ve replaced our mainframe, our servers, and now we are busy replacing our front end services.”
“Once that is done there is absolutely no reason why we couldn’t. Its whether it makes economical sense to become a service provider for Econet in Zimbabwe, we could even potentially become a provider for Orange in Botswana, or for Vodacom in Mozambique,” he said.
“If we are going to play in that corporate space….there is no reason why we couldn’t, but it wont happen for the next 24 months.”