Uganda: Google looks to market its products through mobile companies


Google is in discussions with MTN and Orange Uganda for business partnerships to vend its products in the country. Besides software applications like; search, mail, and chrome, Google sells company adverts, and high end phones like Nexus One and Android.
Nelson Mattos, the vice president Google Europe, Middle East and Africa met the CEO of MTN Uganda Themba Khumalo, and Orange executives in Kampala last Thursday, to discuss the deals. "I have just met the CEO of MTN and tomorrow we have a meeting coming up to discuss the details," Mattos told Daily Monitor in an interview in Kampala last week.
Google has already signed product distribution deals with Kenya's largest mobile operator Safaricom and Vodacom in South Africa. In Uganda, Google and MTN currently offer an SMS-based service known as MTN Google SMS. Khumalo, was not immediately available for a comment on the discussions when contacted. However, Eduard Blondeau, the chief officer strategy, Broadband at Orange Uganda confirmed to Daily Monitor that the two companies are negotiating deals.
"It is natural for us to work together to see how to sell our products and also benefit the customers," Blondeau said. "We definitely have plans of rolling out their products," he added in a phone interview on Friday. Direct procurement of Google products from the firm by Uganda's telecoms is expected to lower the cost of the products by cutting out middle-men from the deals.
Mattos said the company is now focusing on Africa because of the infrastructure advancement that have been made to facilitate the delivery of services by the internet and mobile phones. "The African market is growing very first. All those problems that used to hinder development in Africa are now gone because now there are all these fibre optic cables that can support the use of internet," he said.