Orange to launch WhatsApp rival in SA


Libon, the mobile messaging and voice over Internet Protocol app from Orange, is on its way to South Africa, CEO of Orange Horizons Sébastian Crozier has confirmed.

The app offers instant messaging, cheap international calling, and visual or transcribed voicemail.

It is possible to download and use the application in South Africa, but Orange said an official launch would bring a number of benefits to local users.

“In countries where Orange is present, Libon is adapted to offer specific and exclusive offers for Orange customers in each country,” said Fabian Voyer, vice president of data services at Orange Horizons.

If Libon comes to South Africa, Voyer said it will leverage on the Orange group’s assets. This is what the company is doing in countries like France, Spain, Romania, and Slovakia, he added.

Before launching in South Africa, Orange first posed a few questions to Icasa and the Ministry of Telecommunications and Postal Services.

“If everything is okay we will be able to launch it. I’m not sure all competitors have done the same, but we want to respect the local laws,” said Crozier.

One of Libon’s competitors is WhatsApp, which the latest estimates rank as the most popular social platform in South Africa.

Arguably one of the greatest strengths of WhatsApp is that it runs on a wide variety of mobile devices – including devices that aren’t categorised as smartphones.

Libon, on the other hand, has opted to focus on smartphones as well as a web client.

Crozier said they expect to support Windows Phone devices in future, but not feature phones.

“In less than two or three years, between 80–90% of the market is going to be smartphones,” Crozier said.

These won’t all be expensive, high-end smartphones, he added, but they will be smartphones nonetheless.

Source: MyBroadband 1 April 2015