Orange to set up internet service provider in SA


FRENCH telecoms operator Orange would establish an internet service provider (ISP) unit as part of its strategy to strengthen its presence in South Africa, Orange Horizons MD Sebastien Crozier said this week.

Since opening Orange Horizons in South Africa early last year to seek new business opportunities, Orange has been rolling out a number of products and services to give it access to the highly competitive communications market and establish its brand in the country.

Orange is also looking to become a mobile virtual operator network. Such a network piggybacks on the mobile network infrastructure of other companies. But Orange is lobbying for a regulatory framework and environment conducive to mobile virtual operator networks.

In the meantime it has decided to launch an ISP that will target individual customers and small to medium-size enterprises.

Mr Crozier said launching an ISP was a natural progression that would expand the brand, with its innovative offers. Orange has an ISP in Botswana, where it also operates a mobile network service.

"Becoming an ISP is another way of expanding our presence. There is so much innovation to bring to SA," Mr Crozier said.

"We are building the local company (Orange) piece by piece."

Orange will use its access to submarine cables and partnerships with local telecoms providers allowing access to their infrastructure, to support its ISP services.

As part of such offerings, Orange will also bring its online video content portal to South Africa, aiming to work with local content creators.

"The movie industry is South Africa is big, but it is difficult to find videos of those local movies," Mr Crozier said. "Orange’s online video platform will provide an opportunity for local content providers to show their products to the world."

Orange will open a warehouse in Johannesburg next month, following the successful launch of its online store last year.

The online store sells electronic and telecoms-related products. Mr Crozier said the online store had delivered impressive turnover and with the opening of the warehouse, this was likely to triple.

Opening a local warehouse would result in faster delivery of products to clients in South Africa and neighbouring countries.

"Our turnover (of the online store) is sufficient to have a warehouse here (in Johannesburg). We will also source products from local suppliers," Mr Crozier said.

Orange recently launched a Wi-Fi network in Cape Town through a partnership with Cape Town-based African Eagle Tourism. African Eagle Tourism will provide free Wi-Fi services within its fleet of vehicles. Plans to expand the network to other areas are under way.