Speaking at its 4th annual strategy and activity update for press and analysts in London on 28 July, Ramon Fernandez, Deputy CEO and Chief Finance and Strategy Officer, Bruno Mettling, CEO of Orange Middle East and Africa (MEA), and Jean-Marc Vignolles, Chief Operating Officer for Orange MEA, outlined their vision and priorities, identifying a number of new sectors and activities in which Orange can play a key role in delivering digital transformation to this region.
Bruno Mettling, CEO, Orange MEA, commented: “The Middle East and Africa remains a key growth contributor for Orange. Today, we are present in 21 countries in the zone, with more than one in 10 Africans being Orange customers. We are investing for the long term and plan to continue playing a major role in the digital transformation of the region, from providing infrastructure and access to communications services through to developing new models that will help the region grow.”
Orange Money – 19 million customers and one billion euros of transactions in one month
Orange Money is part of the Group’s ambition to strategically diversify around mobile financial services. With more than 19 million clients (+36% year on year) , Orange Money is a proven success and, for the first time, Orange Money has exceeded 1 billion euros (US $1.11 billion) of transactions in June 2016. It has recorded around 50% growth in revenue in the first half 2016 compared to first half 2015.
Orange branded smartphones drive data usage and roaming
In February 2016, Orange partnered with Google to launch the Orange Rise 31, an affordable new Android-based smartphone bundled with data, available in 10 countries in the MEA. The new Orange Rise 51 features the latest Android N version from Google, and is a 4G smartphone bundled with Orange applications and popular Google services such as YouTube and Google Search. The Orange Rise 51 will be launched first in Ivory Coast for the back to school period. Orange Rise 51 specifications: 4G, 5” screen, quad core, 1Gb:8Gb memory, HD voice, 5MP camera + 2MP front.
Orange launches a new roaming value proposition in MEA
Orange Travel Pass is a new Orange customer value proposition for travellers within the MEA region and to some European destinations. Bundled roaming is new to Africa and the Middle East, and Orange Travel Pass is designed to give customers control of their budget abroad through voice, SMS and data bundles. The offer was just launched in four countries and enables Orange customers to roam across the Orange Africa and Middle East footprint (except Tunisia) and France, with a gradual roll out to 10 countries by the end of summer, and the the rest by year end.
Orange Rural Electrification Programme, the first domestic solar-energy trial for consumers to generate electricity in rural Africa
With 90% of the rural population living in sub Saharan Africa excluded from access to electricity, Orange is launching its Rural Electrification Programme to provide an affordable solution – either to individual customers or collectives – to help populations generate electricity where no traditional electricity grids are available. To be piloted first in the Ivory Coast, Senegal and Cameroon from November 2016, Orange is providing solar kits or micro-grids to rural communities to harness the power of the sun and generate electricity. The pilot is due to run for six months and the equipment will be wholly subsidised by Orange. Customers will be able to pay by Orange Money.
Orange launches the first electricity smart metering trial in Tunisia
In September 2016, Orange will launch Tunisia’s first smart metering pilot in partnership with STEG (The Tunisian Company of Electricity and Gas). The pilot is due to run for six months with 100 smart meters installed in residential premises in Tunisia with up to an envisaged four million smart meters when the solution is rolled out commercially across the country. Orange is offering its ‘smart metering as a service’ by building a smart metering infrastructure that connects and manages – in a secure and reliable manner – millions of smart meters to help utility companies reduce the cost of reading meters and the risk of fraud or billing errors.
NFC Coins allow merchants to provide change to customers in the form of digital coins
Starting first in Mali, Guinea and the Ivory Coast this month, NFC Coins in effect ‘digitises’ coins to provide an easy, quick and secure way to get change from any merchant. NFC Coins is a contactless solution to top up any Orange customer with airtime without disclosing the phone number, and solves the issue of a lack of change and coins in Africa. Once an Orange customer sticks an NFC tag on their mobile, the merchant returns change to them in the form of airtime credit instantaneously.
NOMAD – an on-the-spot solution to authenticate and activate new customers or services effectively
Lengthy processes for customer authentication or service activation are a barrier for Orange sales agents in acquiring new customers or activating new accounts or services. Orange has developed NOMAD, a new and simple portal, accessible via USSD or through an Android app on a smartphone, tablet or web interface, which provides a fast and reliable service for Orange sales agents to authenticate and activate new accounts or services. Orange sales forces can perform transactions ranging from prepaid identification (a legal requirement set by local authorities), prepaid acquisition (for voice or data services), Orange Money subscriptions and SIM Swap services, amongst others, while customers are in shops or at Orange kiosks. With over 700,000 active retailers and kiosks across the MEA region, this new solution enables Orange to digitise its entire distribution channel. NOMAD is already rolled out in 14 countries in the MEA region today.
Orange launches #303# My Store – a USSD-based app store
#303# is an app store based on USSD technology through which service providers can deliver mobile services to any type of phone. Orange customers can access it to find all kinds of content on all topics provided by partners. Cameroon and Egypt will launch its portal in August 2016, with the same #303# unique code to roll out to the rest of the countries in Orange’s MEA footprint. USSD allows any publisher to address Orange’s customer base regardless of the type of device. At launch, 20 publishers have joined the portal.