Pan-African telecoms group Africell has completed its acquisition of Orange Group’s 65.93% stake in Orange Uganda, under a deal which was first announced in May this year. Orange Uganda has struggled to make an impact in a mobile market dominated by three larger rivals MTN, Airtel and Uganda Telecom Ltd (UTL); Orange claimed just 3.3% of the overall user total at the end of June this year. Nevertheless, Africell is confident it can boost the cellco’s fortunes, with CEO Ziad Dalloul commenting: ‘Africell’s acquisition of Orange Uganda presents a great opportunity for us to replicate the success we have achieved in other territories.’
Africell, owned by Lebanon-based Lintel Holdings, already operates mobile services in Gambia, Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It says the expansion into Uganda will give it 700,000 additional cellular subscribers, taking its total customer base to eleven million across the four countries. Orange Group fell out with the other shareholder in its Ugandan subsidiary, HiTS Telecom, in 2013, with HiTS accusing Orange of mismanaging the company ‘beyond repair’.