Data, mobile money main revenue drivers for Orange in Africa

ABIDJAN, March 27 (Reuters) - Data and mobile payment services are driving Orange’s growth in Africa as voice revenues stagnate, but will eventually be eclipsed by new services, the French company’s regional head said on Tuesday.

The telecoms firm has around 130 million customers across 20 countries in Africa and a handful of markets in the Middle East.

It is upgrading data infrastructure in Africa to provide 4G connections and is expanding its Orange Money service, which allows uses to transfer cash and pay bills using their mobiles. It is currently used by about 37 million of its subscribers.

“Today, voice communications represent around 60 percent of our revenues. Globally, voice communications are stagnant,” said Bruno Mettling, Orange’s deputy chief executive officer in charge of the Middle East and Africa.

He was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the Africa CEO Forum in Ivory Coast’s commercial capital Abidjan.

“The new growth drivers are data and Orange Money, which represent around 20 percent of our revenues ... with growth of more than 30 percent for data and 60 percent for Orange Money,” he said, referring to the African division’s 2017 results.

Orange is now gradually rolling out new products across its markets, including mobile banking, power distribution, and education, health and agricultural services.

It has partnered with the British firm BBOXXX to distribute pay-as-you-go household solar power kits, and is in discussions to acquire banking licences via a partner bank in order to provide small loans and insurance.

“I am absolutely convinced that in 2050 an operator which has made the transformation to digital will earn more from these new services than from its telecommunications services,” Mettling said. (Reporting by Joe Bavier)