Orange strengthens presence in Africa with further investment
Orange has strengthened its presence in Africa with recent investment in Kenya and Uganda. In Kenya, Orange will become the commercial brand for Telkom Kenya, following France Telecom’s acquisition of 51% of its capital in December 2007. And in Uganda, France Telecom has joined forces with Hits Telecom Uganda to form a new operator Orange Uganda.
Orange is launching Kenya's fourth mobile network with the deployment of its nationwide GSM network. Already offering fixed-line and Internet services, Orange Kenya will become the country's first fully-integrated operator. Orange Kenya has invested €58 million in its network infrastructure since the beginning of 2008, and plans to triple its customer base to 1.5 million by September 2009. Initially, broadband Internet and mobile will be available in Nairobi and Mombassa only, but this will be progressively extended and rolled out across the whole country by the end of this year. Kenya has a population of 34 million and a mobile penetration rate of just 30%.
Also in East Africa, Orange will gain a telecommunications licence and GSM network in Uganda through its partnership with Hits Telecom Uganda. All of Hits Telecom Uganda's staff will join Orange Uganda Limited, which is 53% owned by France Telecom. Similar to Kenya, Uganda has a population of 30 million and a mobile penetration of less than 30% (March 2008).
France Telecom Group is present in 15 African countries and is helping many incumbent operators make the transition to full market liberalization. As reported in the Orange Business Live! blog, this includes deploying a IP-based Metro Ethernet network in Cote D’Ivoire, possibly Africa's first all-optical backbone.