Orange aims to "democratize access to smartphones" in Africa

The French telecom provider has announced its latest multi-service operator strategy to leverage digital innovation to optimize quality of life in Africa


French telecom provider Orange announced at an event that it will be accelerating its multi-service operator strategy in Africa in aim to "democratize access to smartphones, encourage e-education and support the startup ecosystem".

The expansion of its strategy to Africa will introduce smartphones which consumers can avail of in early 2019. The smartphones will integrate KaiOS technologies, a Hong-Kong based operating system, "creating an emerging ecosystem of digital products and services at an affordable price", Orange said.

Orange is currently present in 20 countries in Africa and the Middle East with a customer base of 261 million users.

Orange stated that the first of its product to be released will be a 3G smartphone, followed by a 4G next year. The new phones will be offered at an affordable price in countries where Orange holds a presence, but so far there has been no exact release dates as to when they will be available.

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The new smartphones will provide access to in-demand apps such as Twitter, Facebook, Google Assistant – available in French, English and Arabic in an effort to overcome language and literacy challenges.

In a statement, Orange said: "In the field of telephony as in many others, Africa has jumped a technological step by moving directly to mobile.

"The outlook of the smartphone market is still seeing exponential growth. It is estimated that at least 660 million Africans (against 336 million in 2016) will be equipped with a smartphone by 2020."

Orange also announced a partnership with the Virtual University of Tunis and looks to partner with the Virtual University of Senegal in December. In addition, the telecom provider has launched an "African Digital School" program to provide adolescents with the knowledge to drive digital innovations to improve quality of life.

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