French telecom giant Orange announces plans to expand into subscriber-rich Nigeria, South Africa markets

NIGERIA – Orange, a French multinational telecommunications corporation, has announced its intention to expand operations to Nigeria, and South Africa.

Chief Executive Officer for Orange, Stéphane Richard, told French newspaper, Les Echos, that the company was planning to kickstart the expansion process in a few months’ time because it believes it would benefit from having a wider footprint in Africa.

Orange had earlier announced that it would merge its operations in the Middle East and Africa into a single entity, to make way for a potential listing and raise money for expansion to other countries.

The telco giant has already made significant progress in the merging of its MEA operations having officially inaugurated the Orange Middle East and Africa (Orange MEA) operational head office in Morocco earlier this year.

With approximately 266 million customers worldwide, with 89,000 employees in France, and another 59,000 in other parts of the world, the telco is the tenth-largest mobile network operator in the world, and the fourth largest in Europe after Vodafone, Telefónica, and Veon.

Being the fastest-growing market for the telco, the Middle East and Africa, where it has a presence in 18 countries presents a viable area for growth and expansion.

According to a Reuters reports, payment transfers form a key component of the company’s business especially in the MENA region where these transfers account for a large part of its revenue.

The arrival of Orange is expected to further stiffen the competition in the Nigerian industry, which is currently home to four major operators including, MTN Nigeria (the market leader), Airtel, Globacom, and 9Mobile.

According to a telecoms analyst, Kehinde Aluko, the planned entry of Orange is testimony to  market opportunities Nigeria’s telecommunications industry presents to investors.

He notes that Nigeria still remains attractive for various reasons chief among them being the fact that it is home to the largest population in Africa making it a market with infinite possibilities.

Aluko is optimistic that Orange’s entry will promote a healthy competition among Telco’s, drive up innovate and lower the cost of telecommunication services to consumers.

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