“Hello, The Orange Online Store will no longer be available in South Africa,” is the message that now greets visitors to the South African Orange Online Store. The French telecommunications company’s subsidiary, Orange Horizons, announced the closure of its local, online, retail operation in a mail to its newsletter subscribers on Wednesday evening.
“We have cherished the opportunity to serve you and would like to thank you once again for your business,” the message in the email announcement and on the website reads. “We leave you in the good hands of our trusted partner CTDI (formerly Regenersis) who will assist with any warranty and/or return queries from the 1st of December 2016. CTDI is one of the largest repair providers with over 70 locations around the world, you may rest assured that the CTDI team will take good care of you.”
Contact details and operating hours for CTDI follow. And that’s it. No details on what prompted the sudden change of heart, or what’s going to happen to the physical retail outlet Orange Horizons also operates in Cape Town.
We must confess we’re a little sad to see the Orange Online Store go. In addition to offering incredibly competitive prices on hardware (thanks to Orange’s global buying power), it was one of the only places you could get things like Google’s Nexus-branded Android devices. And it was the go-to for travellers in the know looking to get an Orange SIM card before a Parisian jaunt or Riviera rendezvous.
In the hopes of a little more detail on the sudden move we’ve reached out to Orange, and will update this story if and when we find out anything more. Until then, adieu Orange
UPDATE: Orange Horizons South Africa sent Stuff the following statement on Wednesday evening in response to questions about the future of its retail operations and its motivations for ceasing its online activities in South Africa:
The Orange Group has decided to wind up the Orange Horizons program globally. This was a strategic decision that was taken on an Orange Group level, and does not reflect on the specific performance of the program in South Africa. As part of the Group’s Essentials2020 strategy and given the high level of competition on the Group’s major markets such as in France, Orange has decided to focus on its core footprint markets where it is active on the Consumer market as a network operator. Orange Business Services and Globecast remain in South Africa, the Orange Top Up offer will also continue to be available.
This decision affects all countries where exploratory activities under the Orange Horizons business unit had commenced, such as South Africa, Brazil and European countries such as Germany etc.
Africa continues to invest heavily in Africa as a whole, which represents an important part of its strategy for international development. For example, Orange has acquired MNO operations 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. We [will] also keep Orange Top Up online platform. Orange Business Services and Globecast will remain in South Africa, which is a very important market for them, and there is no intention to change this position.
In terms of the physical store, the store already ceased trading and will be utilised for other purposes by the owner of the property.