Sebastien Crozier, who heads Orange Horizons – the Orange Group subsidiary tasked with expanding the operator’s presence in new markets such as South Africa – has told TechCentral that the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) should not tolerate local mobile operators offering on-network calls that are below the wholesale call termination rate, highlighting offending talk plans offered by both Vodacom South Africa and Telkom Mobile. He commented: ‘It’s a real problem for mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) to enter the market. MVNOs can bring innovation and competition, but what we want is fair competition. We are surprised because in some areas, like banking, South Africa is very advanced. On the telecoms side, South Africa is behind when you compare it even to certain countries in Africa — I’m not even talking about Europe’.
While Crozier ruled out the Orange Group buying a mobile operator in South Africa in the short-to-medium term, he confirmed that the company is exploring the possibility of working in conjunction with a local, as yet unnamed, consortium, to build an extensive access network based on Wi-Fi technology. He added: ‘There is a lack of Wi-Fi in this country. We could be involved in the next few months in a consortium to launch Wi-Fi. It’s not an acquisition, but an investment to be a player in the Wi-Fi area’.