France Telecom Launches Orange Network in Niger


Last Monday France Telecom launched a telephone and Internet service under its Orange brand in five centers across Niger, the company said.

As well as the capital Niamey, the towns of Zinder, Maradi, Birni-N'Konni and Tahoua are also covered, France Telecom's head of operations for Africa Marc Rennard said. The network will soon be available in about 30 other towns, he added.

The authorities in Niamey gave France Telecom a license to market its global GSM fixed-mobile-Internet service for EUR48 million last November. The company has joined forces with two African partners, Mohamed Rissa and Moctar Thiam, to run its network in Niger.

Taking into account the low wages of most of the population, Orange is selling recharge cards for as little as EUR0.3. It has also launched a promotion offering a SIM card with credit from EUR1.53. Orange, which operates in 12 African countries, is also offering high-speed mobile Internet access in Niamey.

Three other companies have a presence in Niger's GSM sector, including Celtel, which has more than 80% of the 709,000 subscribers, followed by Moov (formerly Telecel) with 10% of the market, and Sahelcom, a subsidiary of Sonitel, with 7%.