Orange could launch in South Africa ‘within months’

15 June 2020

Orange, France’s largest telecom group,is considering entering South Africa, its chief executive officer (CEO) told media. 

Stéphane Richard was asked whether Orange would consider taking a stake in MTN - a partner in a consortium that will build Africa's largest undersea internet cable - but he declined to answer.

“It could make sense to be in economies such as Nigeria and South Africa,” Richard said. “If one considers there are things to do, the time frame I am considering is rather a few months than a few years.”

The French government is the largest stakeholder in Orange, which operates in 18 African countries, including Botswana and the DRC, and estimates that one in ten mobile African users are Orange customers. Orange recently expressed interest in buying a mobile licence in Ethiopia, with MTN also in the running.

South Africa's lack of available spectrum has been a problem for new entrants. Spectrum is limited because television broadcasting has a monopoly on frequencies – because a move from the analogue TV system to digital terrestrial television has been delayed for half a decade.