Orange seeks new horizons in South Africa, Myanmar

France Telecom Orange's strategy to open new business opportunities outside its main footprint was given a boost this week after its Orange Horizons unit signed a partnership agreement with Nashua Mobile to extend its retail footprint, products and services to South Africa, according to local press reports.

Orange Horizons was announced in January this year, and the first project to be launched under the Orange Horizons banner was in South Africa. According to local news service Independent Online, Orange booths in Nashua stores will now offer prepaid SIM cards and top-up vouchers, bundled voice, data and SMS products, as well as unlimited access to 30,000 Wi-Fi hotspots in France, and to Orange Maps.

Orange Horizons CEO Sébastien Crozier, said South Africa was an important country in the group's expansion strategy, but has ruled out launching as an operator or an MVNO for now. An MVNO would be a possible strategy in the longer term, Crozier told Independent Online.

Meanwhile, Orange also has high hopes of gaining a licence in Myanmar, with just two weeks to go until Myanmar announces the winners of the two mobile operating licences it has put up for sale.

Speaking to Total Telecom, Elie Girard, executive vice president of group strategy and development at Orange, said he believes the group has a very good chance of winning a licence, and is also open to partners. However, Girard stressed that Orange will partner either with non-telecoms operators or "smaller size operators that could bring some knowledge from the region."

Girard said Vodafone and China Mobile, which joined forces to bid for a Myanmar licence but have since withdrawn from the process, would have found it difficult to work together because they are both large operators, which would have raised issues over who was in control.

Orange has so far partnered with Japanese trading house Marubeni and is one of 11 companies and consortia left in the Myanmar bidding process.

For more:
- see this Independent Online article
- see this BDlive article
- see this Total Telecom article

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