THE fifth mobile phone operator, Orange, started work yesterday. Abu Mukasa, the Uganda director, said Orange would operate on the 0790 code.
and David Muwanga
THE fifth mobile phone operator, Orange, started work yesterday.
Abu Mukasa, the Uganda director, said Orange would operate on the 0790 code.
The company, he said, was already employing 180 Ugandans. Mukasa said Orange charges sh8 per second for Orange-to-Orange subscribers and sh310 per minute to other local networks.
The Short Message Service to local networks and Orange Kenya will cost sh90 and sh220 for all international sms.
The launch of Orange followed its acquisition of a 53% stake in Hits Telecom, the original holders of the licence.
The take-over was necessary so as to meet the huge competition in the telecommunication industry, officials said.
Orange comes at a time of a severe financial crisis which has rocked the world. It faces four established telecommunication companies, MTN, Uganda telecom, Zain and Warid.
With about five million subscribers, MTN is the market leader, followed by Zain, which has just over four million, Uganda Telecom (about three million) and Warid Telecom, which launched a year ago, has over one million subscribers.
Michael Barre, the international operations senior vice-president, said the credit crunch would not affect the companyâ€™s operations. â€œWe have set aside 8b euros and we have a back-up from our parent company, France Telecom,â€ Barre said.
He said Orange aimed at becoming the number one player. â€œWe started the same way in Central Africa in December 2007 and emerged the best by December 2008,â€ he said.
Barre, who said the competition in Uganda â€œappeared stiffâ€, added that the companyâ€™s topnotch services would win the market.
â€œWe shall not be cheap but we shall cross all avenues,â€ said Philippe Luxcey, the chief executive officer. â€œWe have a full range of services worldwide, all of which would be available in Uganda.â€
In an attempt to avoid constructing too many sites, Orange has signed an agreement with Warid Telecom to share 300 sites, the officials said. Under the arrangement, the company will build 150 sites and share Waridâ€™s 150 sites already in place.
Orange operates in 15 African countries, including Kenya, Senegal, Niger, Cameroon, Botswana, Madagascar, Egypt and Mauritius.
Orange launches in Uganda