The Orange Online Store, a source of lower-cost handsets free of operator bloatware, has been shut down in South Africa — and worldwide.
South African visitors to the online store, operated by the French telecommunications giant Orange, were greeted by a notice on Wednesday that it will “no longer be available in South Africa”.
In an e-mailed statement to TechCentral on Wednesday evening, the company said it has decided to terminate the Orange Horizons programme — which was responsible for the online store — worldwide.
“This was a strategic decision that was taken at an Orange Group level, and does not reflect on the specific performance of the programme in South Africa,” the company said in the statement.
“As part of the group’s ‘Essentials 2020’ strategy, and given the high level of competition in the group’s major markets such as in France, Orange has decided to focus on its core footprint markets where it is active in the consumer market as a network operator,” it said.
Orange’s IT services arm, Orange Business Services, will remain in South Africa.
“This decision affects all countries where exploratory activities under the Orange Horizons business unit had commenced, such as South Africa, Brazil and Germany.
“Orange continues to invest heavily in Africa as a whole, which represents an important part of its strategy for international development,” the company continued.
“For example, Orange has acquired mobile network operators in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Burkina Faso this year. These reflect market opportunities to invest in specific countries that fit within the group’s overall footprint (mostly Maghreb, West and Central Africa).
“The Orange brand has been active in the South African market under business units including Orange Horizons, Orange Business Services and Globecast. It is only the Orange Horizons activity that is being withdrawn.”
In the notice on the Orange Online Store’s website, the company said customers can work with “trusted partner” CTDI (formerly Regenersis), which will assist with any warranties and returns from 1 December.
“CTDI is one of the largest repair providers with over 70 locations around the world. You can be rest assured that the CTDI team will take good care of you.”
South African consumers will be left with fewer choices with the closure of the store. Orange had used its global buying power to offer local consumers discounted smartphones, tablets, computers and other electronic gadgetry. — © 2016 NewsCentral Media