[cellular news] France Telecom-Orange and Google have signed a partnership that aims to facilitate access to Google's services across Africa by leveraging Orange's networks. This will enable Orange's mobile customers to stay in touch with their Google services and Google users to extend their network by using SMS-based services.
The "Gmail SMS Chat" service, which will eventually be launched across Orange's footprint in Africa and the Middle East, is already available in Senegal, Uganda and Kenya. It will be launched in four additional countries - Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea Conakry and Niger - in the coming months, and will be launched as a trial in Egypt (Mobinil).
Orange and Google are now looking to extend this partnership to include other services.
Through the development of SMS-based services that operate on all mobile networks, Orange and Google will extend the reach of a range of internet services that were previously limited to smartphone and broadband users to all Orange mobile customers.
The services proposed under Google SMS are only the first stage of this partnership. Orange and Google are now exploring ways of bringing other Google services to the whole Orange customer base.
Commenting on the partnership, Xavier Perret, VP Strategic Partnerships said: "The Group's capacity to combine its knowhow on service infrastructure with innovation, and by adapting its offers to local needs, will enable it to provide mobile customers across Africa with access to internet-based services in the best possible conditions. We are delighted to work with a major brand like Google and we know that by innovating together we can really change the role mobile technology plays in our customers' lives".
Orange Inks African Deal with Google for Mobile Services