Orange Horizons CEO, Sébastien Crozier says that French based global operator Orange wants to be virtual mobile operator (MVNO) in South Africa.
This is the clearest statement yet of the group’s ambitions as a serious player in the mobile space in South Africa.
South Africa already has a MVNO, in Virgin Mobile South Africa, which has only 500,000 customers and operates with limited success.
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.
It follows the launch of an e-commerce store and an online portal designed specifically for the South African market in January, as part of a new subsidiary called Orange Horizons.
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.
Speaking to BusinessTech following a press event in Sandton, Crozier further outlined Orange’s intentions in SA.
“We have said in January, we are here (South Africa) in a long term strategy. We aren’t going to buy an existing mobile operator in the country. We want to be a virtual mobile operator…it’s a step-by-step process, we aren’t in a hurry.”
The chief executive was critical of the current telecoms regulations for operators in the country. “The regulations aren’t good enough,” he said by way of a barrier for Orange to take the step of becoming a MVNO.
“We are in discussions with the regulators, and it is still in our mind,” to become a virtual mobile operator, Crozier said. “We will continue launching products to better understand the market,” he added.
Orange is one of the world’s leading telecommunications operators with sales of 43.5 billion euros in 2012 and has 170,000 employees worldwide at 31 March 2013, including 104,000 employees in France.
Present in 32 countries, the group has a total customer base close to 230 million customers at 31 March 2013, including 172 million mobile customers and 15 million broadband internet (ADSL, fibre) customers worldwide.