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Orange planning South African MVNO, potential Wi-Fi partnership

Orange is looking to increase competition in South Africa’s mobile market by setting up an MVNO, and may also be joining a Wi-Fi consortium that aims to deploy an extensive network across the country.

Orange Horizons, a subsidiary company that explores expansion opportunities for the operator group, has not named the Wi-Fi group but has confirmed that it is considering whether or not to participate.

Sébastien Crozier, the CEO of Orange Horizons, has confirmed that the group has no short or medium term plans to acquire an established South African operator. Currently only Virgin Mobile operates an MVNO in the market.

Crozier also criticised the pricing models of incumbent operators Telkom Mobile and Vodacom, calling them “anti-competitive”. He added that the regulator Icasa (Independent Communications Authority of South Africa) should re-evaluate its stance on pricing on-net calls at a lower rate than the cost of terminating wholesale calls, noting that termination rates are currently too high.

He adds that operators are undercutting the third parties that buy their data services wholesale by offering them directly to subscribers at lower retail rates.

“It’s a real problem for MVNOs to enter the market. MVNOs can bring innovation and competition, but what we want is fair competition,” he notes.

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