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Orange may open retail stores for customers

French telecommunications company, Orange, may open its own branded stores to complement its existing online retail platform‚ which is expected to break even early next year.
Orange's Sebastien Crozier says that the firm is considering opening its own retail stores in parts of South Africa. Image: How we made it in Africa
Orange is using Nashua Mobile's physical stores to sell its products such as SIM cards for South African's visiting countries where Orange operates. The online store sells electronic and telecommunications-related products.

However‚ since Nashua Mobile has sold its customer base and is preparing to close down‚ Orange says it may open its own stores in selected areas or partner with independent retailers to sell its products.

"We are in discussions with a number of partners. There is still space to deliver our high quality products‚" says Orange Horizons Managing Director Sebastien Crozier.

Since opening Orange Horizons in SA 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.

WiFi in taxis, at hotspots

These include WiFi networks in taxis in Johannesburg and Cape Town. It also has plans to launch an Internet Service Provider (ISP) unit and rollout WiFi in selected townships.

Blake Levitan‚ Country Manager‚ South Africa Orange Horizons‚ said the company was already providing WiFi hotspots in some low income areas in the Western Cape.

"We are investigating similar opportunities in Alexander and Diepsloot‚" he said. Crozier said across the world in the next three to four years the use of data would be through WiFi networks.

Crozier said the launch of an ISP unit was progressing well and the company would rent bandwidth capacity from existing suppliers. The ISP will offer services such as online video content. Orange aims to work with local content creators.

According to Crozier Orange will be a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) and it is lobbying the regulator to establish a regulatory framework suitable for such partnerships.


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