As the France Telecom Group completes rebranding to Orange, this post offers a snapshot on the Group’s origins in Europe and its current focus on emerging markets in Africa. This will be useful to readers seeking partnerships with large operator groups across multiple countries, or for competitor analysis.
As of the first of July 2013, France Telecom’s transition to the new brand is complete and the Group will now be known as Orange across all of the Group’s commercial operations (fixed, mobile, TV and internet) and corporate activities.
France Telecom S.A. was founded in 1988 as a privatisation spin off from the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications. It still has a 27% French Government holding and began this rebranding operation in 2006, utilising the Orange brand acquired through the purchase of the Orange Plc in 2000.
The Group achieved a turn around from their position in October 2002 when France Telecom was reported to have been the 2nd most in debt company worldwide in terms of short-term liabilities.The French Government was a majority shareholder up until 2004. With privatisation came expansion into emerging countries in Africa, in a bid to withstand the saturation in European markets.
Orange Money is the Group’s venture into financial services in 8 countries in Africa. This month the service was bolstered by rolling out its first international mobile money transfer service in Africa, similar to MTN MMO from the MTN group.
However the Group still struggles to keep down costs and clear debts while withstanding intense competition even across their African markets.