Orange partners with Equity Bank to offer affordable devices .
07-10-2010 12:59:45 | by: Administrator | hits: 28042 | Tags:

With data access costs plummeting, Orange today moved to
complete the package by addressing the issue of affordable devices.
The landmark partnership with Equity Bank was signed by the Orange CEO Mickael
Ghossein and Dr.James Mwangi the Equity Bank CEO in Nairobi.
Growth in data access Ghossein said required a threefold approach targeting availability
of bandwidth, affordable devices and reasonable pricing.

The deal stipulates that Orange will provide the devices which will be available at all
Orange shops countrywide while Equity Bank will finance their acquisition.
Availability of affordable devices has been a hurdle for many Kenyans and Ghosse in said
that this deal ensured that it would no longer be an impediment.

There are slightly over three million internet users in Kenya and over 20 million mobile
subscribers. According to the recent Census report, a paltry 3.6 per cent of the Kenyan
households have a computer while 63.2 per cent of households own at least a mobile
phone. “In our estimation the ownership of mobile phones with internet access could be
much lower”, said Ghossein.

These facilities will be open to those with an Equity Bank account. Customers will
identify the device to acquire, apply for a loan and once approved, will take possession of
the device and then repay the bank in easy instalments spread throughout a period of 12
months.

Speaking during the signing ceremony, Ghossein said that Orange was committed to
increasing the number of citizens who have access to both voice and data services.
He noted that Orange was taking several measures to increase the speed and number of
internet users in Kenya. Last week, the company launched a mobile internet service that
costs a Sh 1 per MB, a few weeks after slashing its calling cost by more than half.
In addition, Orange subscribers are set to benefit from even more reliable internet. This is
after France Telecom-Orange signed an agreement for a new submarine cable in the
Indian Ocean.

The 3,000 km- long LION2 cable will extend the LION cable to Kenya via the island of
Mayotte. The construction of the LION2 cable represents a total investment of around
56.5 million euros. About 31.25 million euros will come from France Telecom SA.
This in additional to the 4,000 kilometres of cable laid in Kenya.

Equity Bank’s Chief Executive Officer Dr James Mwangi said the Bank, with branches
all over the country, would avail affordable and flexible credit terms so that more
Kenyans can access the laptops and hence bridge the digital divide especially in the rural
areas.

Equity Bank is one of the leading institutions in the region and holds the highest number
of accounts in the region with over 5.7 million bank accounts.
“I am challenging Kenyans and especially the academic fraternity to take advantage of
the arrival of the submarine fibre optic cables to spearhead innovation in ICT and create
more employment opportunities for Kenyans entering the job market every year,” Dr
Mwangi said.

“The academic fraternity is a key plank in driving a knowledge-based economy to
improve national prosperity and Kenya’s global competitiveness. We hope teachers,
students and the youth including business people will take advantage of this offer.This
partnership will further our progress towards attaining our country’s vision of being a
middle income economy by 2030,” Dr Mwangi said.

The ICT sector is a major contributor to Kenya’s GDP, and has the potentia l to employ
thousands of Kenyans hence contributing significantly to poverty reduction. Dr James
Mwangi is also the Chairman of Kenya’s Vision 2030 Delivery Board.

 

This article was originally posted on Africa Banking Network