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 has played its part in this African expansion, having established mobile payment services (via the Orange Money service) across its operations on the continent as well as investing in mobile internet coverage – it currently offers 4G services in 14 African markets.
The company also aims to keep its tariffs affordable, and to this end has partnered with KaiOS Technologies to democratise access to digital services in Africa. Beginning 2019, Orange customers in Africa will have access to a new category of smart feature phones powered by KaiOS, the operating system from KaiOS Technologies, that is creating an emerging ecosystem of digital products and services at an affordable price. In addition, customers will be able to use Google’s digital assistant – the Google Assistant - in French, English and Arabic to help overcome language and literacy challenges.
The first product to launch will be a 3G smart feature phone, followed by a 4G version later next year. The new phones will allow access to in-demand apps like Twitter, Facebook, You Tube, Google Search, Google Maps and the Google Assistant. It comes at an affordable price as a smart feature phone with advanced smartphone-like functionalities. This offer will be available in almost every country where Orange is present.
Of all the digital revolutions, e-learning is arguably one of the most transformative for Africa. Online education will make it possible to train the millions of professionals the continent needs to take charge of its development. Through its “African Digital School” programme, Orange aims to mobilise its infrastructure, access and expertise to help Africa rise to the challenge of training young people, especially in digital growth sectors.
The first partners of this programme are major French institutions, like the CNED and the University Institutes of Technology, and the startup OpenClassrooms for IT lessons. Orange has also announced a new partnership with the Virtual University of Tunis, which has provided digital training to all Tunisian students for over a decade. The partnership aims to support access to their courses and training in the African countries within Orange’s footprint. A similar partnership will be signed in December with the Virtual University of Senegal, another leader in online training in Africa.
Orange is present in 20 countries in Africa and the Middle East where it has 119 million customers (Q3 2018). Generating €5 billion in sales in 2017, this zone is a strategic priority for the group. Orange Money, its mobile-based money transfer and financial services offer is available in 17 countries and has 40.2 million customers.