Daily News Egypt interviewed several leaders of Orange Egypt to discuss the company’s investment vision and strategy for the Egyptian market in the upcoming period. The interviewees were Hisham Mahran, Chief Business Officer; Amin Amiri, Chief Technology Officer; and Ahmed El-Abd, Chief Commercial Officer. They shared their insights on the company’s priorities, plans, and partnerships in the fields of digital payments, smart cities, data solutions, and social responsibility.
What are the company’s priorities and strategic plan for 2024?
Our strategy for 2024 is to enhance our services and solutions in the areas of digital payments and smart cities while committing to our environmental goals of zero carbon emissions by 2040. We also aim to maintain our growth in revenues and operational activities, strengthening our position as a comprehensive and integrated provider of technology services across all technical fields. This is possible thanks to our significant investments in data solutions, digital services, and smart infrastructure, as well as the substantial growth in technology consumption in Egypt, especially under the government’s digital transformation strategy. We will also continue to support our social responsibility initiatives in education, health, entrepreneurship, and women empowerment.
How can our urban communities embrace the concept of smart cities?
Smart cities are the future and will become dominant in any society, just like any other technology that starts gradually and then becomes mainstream. However, the advantage this time is that Egypt is more prepared to implement and spread the concept of smart cities thanks to Vision Egypt 2030 and the digital transformation strategy adopted by the state. These initiatives aim to enhance Egypt’s competitive advantages and improve the quality of life for its citizens. Smart cities are the optimal solution to improve efficiency, energy conservation, and security, and reduce operating costs for urban communities. Therefore, real estate developers are urged to provide these technologies to gain customer loyalty and maintain their market position.
What about partnering with closed residential communities to provide advanced communication services?
We have a leading market share in Triple Play services offered in various residential communities. These services include high-speed internet, high-definition digital TV channels, and landline telephone services using fiber-optic cables through private internal networks. We have partnered with many real estate developers in the Egyptian market, such as Orascom Development, Emaar Misr, SODIC, New Giza, Tatweer Misr, and others and we are also negotiating with a group of new real estate developers.
What are the key sectors you are investing in that contribute most to the company’s revenues?
We focus on enhancing our investments in the communications and information technology sector, particularly in digital data, financial services, and smart cities. These are the sectors that have shown significant growth in internet usage rates and demand for internet services on our network.
How will Orange Egypt participate in the Cairo ICT 2023 exhibition and conference?
Orange Egypt will showcase its latest solutions and technologies in digital transformation, smart cities, artificial intelligence, and cybersecurity solutions in major technological projects at the Cairo ICT 2023 exhibition and conference. The company will also present its initiatives and projects to support innovation and creativity among entrepreneurs, such as the “Orange Digital Center.”
What is the company’s plan to provide digital solutions in urban communities?
Orange Egypt has a comprehensive strategy to provide digital solutions for smart cities according to the highest international standards. The company has the expertise, workforce, and collaboration with its parent company to deliver, manage, and operate these services efficiently. Orange Egypt is the most reliable digital services partner for many urban projects, such as the largest data center in the Administrative Capital, which serves as the central hub for all smart services in the capital.
How do you see growth opportunities in the communications sector during the current year, given the current economic repercussions?
The Egyptian communications sector faces the challenges of the global economic crisis, such as rising prices and inflation. However, there are also growth opportunities in this sector, especially in the current period. The communications sector plays a vital role in providing services and solutions that help citizens communicate and fulfill their daily needs. There has been a significant increase in the demand for telecommunication services in various sectors, such as education, health, and remote business management. This requires more effort and investments to expand the network capabilities. Moreover, there are growth opportunities in the field of digital transformation services, mobile money transfers, cloud computing, smart city services, and the Internet of Things.
What are your criteria for environmental sustainability, and what role does the company play in reducing carbon emissions?
Orange Egypt has an ambitious strategy to achieve zero carbon emissions by 2040. The company has reduced carbon emissions by over 50% in many of its core operations and energy consumption by more than 40% in some operational indicators. The company has also obtained several ISO certifications for environmental management, carbon footprint, occupational health and safety, and energy management systems. Orange Egypt has launched environmentally friendly networks that use solar energy in towers, networks, and stations. The company has operated many towers and stations using renewable energy and has implemented energy-efficient policies that reduced consumption by around 21,000 megawatt-hours. Orange Egypt has invested over EGP 500m to acquire innovations that help reduce carbon emissions and has entered into a cooperation agreement with the New and Renewable Energy Authority to purchase renewable energy. The company has also installed solar cells on the roofs of its central facilities and introduced Eco-SIM cards made from environmentally friendly materials. Moreover, Orange Egypt has raised community awareness of climate issues through its commercials, initiatives, campaigns, competitions, and events.
How many mobile tower stations currently support 4G communication services?
Orange Egypt has completed over 80% of the planned mobile stations for this year, totaling nearly 500 stations. About 90% of the company’s mobile stations, which exceed 9,000 stations, support 4G technologies. Orange Egypt is expanding throughout the country, focusing on Upper Egypt and the Delta, as well as cities and highways. The company is committed to its strategy to eliminate carbon emissions by 2040 and to provide premium communication and technology services that adhere to all environmental standards.
To what extent do you rely on renewable energy in your operations?
We have operated many towers and stations using 100% solar energy. We have also set up a plan to use clean and renewable energy by installing solar cells on the roofs of our central facilities and mobile switching centers. We have contracted with the New and Renewable Energy Authority in Egypt to purchase renewable energy and use it to operate our networks and sites nationwide. This has reduced the use of fossil fuels and electricity from unsustainable sources.
What is the adoption rate of “Orange Cash,” and how many customers does it have?
Orange Cash has become a comprehensive solution for electronic payment and digital financial transactions. Orange Cash has many features, such as paying bills at the lowest fees in Egypt, paying university fees with cashback, and partnering with reputable companies in digital payments, such as Visa, the National Bank of Egypt, Valu, Sahl for Payments, and Rahet Bally. Thanks to our development plan, the number of active customers in Orange Cash has increased by 200%, and the number of Orange Cash customers has risen by 120% in October 2023 compared to the same period last year. We expect the number of new subscribers to continue growing in Orange Cash.
What are the company’s plans to invest in financial technology, especially given the rapid growth it is experiencing?
We place great emphasis on investing in financial technology and aim to explore and develop innovative solutions for electronic payment, digital financial services, and electronic transfer operations. Thanks to Orange Cash, we have become a key player in the financial technology landscape in Egypt, focusing on redeveloping wallet services and forming partnerships with giant institutions.
What are the added-value services that the company aims to offer in the coming period?
We are expanding the provision of many value-added services, especially in digital and data-driven fields, to meet the needs of our customers and provide them with unique experiences. We adhere to all the regulations set by the National Telecom Regulatory Authority in this regard.
What are the latest developments regarding the availability of the “eSIM” service in Egypt? Can we expect it to be launched in 2024?
Orange Egypt has completed all tests and preparations to operate embedded electronic communication (eSIM) on its networks, following the global standards of telecommunications technologies. The company is currently coordinating with the National Telecom Regulatory Authority and service providers to obtain the final approval and launch the service in the Egyptian market.