Orange, the French telecommunications giant that has had the rumour mill in SA turning as to whether it is going to enter the local market on the consumer front, has made its first footprints on local soil. The company yesterday announced the launch of a new subsidiary, Orange Horizons, which it says aims to “seek out new business opportunities in countries where the group is not already present as a mass-market telecommunications provider” and as a new source of revenue for the group. According to analysts, the new subsidiary could mean the fruition of rumours that have been circulating for some time about the operator’s entry on the South African telecoms map, and even the launch of a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO). Ovum senior analyst Richard Hurst says, while Orange already has a presence in SA via its Orange Business Services (OBS), the company has been looking at expanding its reach in the local consumer market, as well as the launch of an MVNO, for about four years now. Hurst says with the telecoms landscape as it is on the consumer end and the high saturation SA is seeing, Orange’s entry into the market would “add fuel to the fire” in terms of the price war that is under way between SA’s four operators. “The time is right for Orange in SA,” he says. The key moves likely to be made by Orange, he says, will be in the mobile broadband space. “There is some opportunity there, if you look at what is happening with Cell C and 8ta and the falling prices.” Hurst says an entry into the South African market “will work” for Orange, if the company leverages the local and global footprint it has through OBS. “The key for Orange would be to find the right partner.” Frost & Sullivan ICT research analyst Mervin Miemoukanda says, from Orange’s 2015 vision, it is clear the company wants to expand into Africa, particularly in the mobile communications space. “I think SA is definitely on the cards, as it is a lucrative market for Orange. SA makes up 70% of the company’s corporate customers in Africa.” The first of Orange Horizons’ projects – an e-commerce Web site and a country Web site – have gone live already. The launch of Orange Horizons precedes a media event in which Orange is set to present its local strategy. Sébastien Crozier, MD of Orange Horizons, will outline the group’s roll-out operations and South African strategy in Johannesburg’s Rosebank tomorrow.

Friday, January 18, 2013

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