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With sale to Africell, Orange starts to pull back from East Africa

Michael Malakata | Nov. 21, 2014
French Telecom operator Orange has finally sold its operation in Uganda to Africell as a first step to exiting the East African telecom market altogether.

Edith Mwale, telecom analyst at Africa Center for ICT Development said, "unlike Uganda, if the operator decides to leave the Kenyan market, it will be very difficult to sell the operation because the Kenyan voice market has become almost saturated and as a result less attractive."

Africell, meanwhile, already has operations in Uganda and other African countries, including the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Sierra Leone and Gambia.

The operator said it now reached 11 million active subscribers, a 700 percent increase over a five-year period, and expects to end the year with more than 12 million subscribers.

The purchase of the Orange operations, Africell chairman and CEO Ziad Dalloul said, "is an important step for the company; this acquisition will add substantial growth to our portfolio which already includes the fastest growing network in DRC and another two operations in Gambia and Sierra Leone."

In Uganda, the company is faced with stiff competition from MTN, Africa's largest operator, and Airtel Uganda.


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