Sofrecom: Orange Money architect

Fri 03 Jun 2016

Ever since its launch five years ago, Orange Group’s mobile payment service «Orange Money» has been an outstanding success in Africa. Sofrecom contributes actively to this success by supporting the French operator’s corporate entities and subsidiaries working all along the value chain.

Mobile payment: a major development lever for Orange in Africa

In all countries where Orange operates, and in particular in Africa and the Middle East, it has introduced innovative services that support local development. One of these is Orange Money which now plays a key role in the operator’s African strategy. 

Orange Money is a complete electronic currency management solution used on a mobile telephone. Users can perform not only simple financial transactions such as sending housekeeping money, buying telephone calling time and paying bills, but even more complex ones such as international money transfers, insurance and bank account management, The potential for this practical, cellphone-based services is enormous in Africa where the mobile penetration rate frequently exceeds 90% while barely 10% of the population hold bank accounts. 

Orange Money is available to all Orange customers, including people with very low incomes or living in isolated rural regions (where there are often no banks at all) and city dwellers with a bank account. 

By positioning as a leading supporter of local economic development, Orange has built an excellent brand image and a loyal customer base, even in markets characterized by multi-SIM usage and globally high churn.

Sofrecom’s role in Orange Money design and implementation

Today Orange Money is commercialized in 13 AMEA countries: Ivory Coast, Senegal, Mali, Madagascar, Niger, Kenya, Botswana, Cameroon, Jordan, Mauritius, Guinea, Morocco and Uganda. Working at the very heart of the Orange Money program, in each country Sofrecom experts are heavily involved from the very earliest stages through to the actual launch. 

Sofrecom’s support enables Orange to move faster and be more reactive in launching new services. 

Prior to each project, we work with the AMEA and Technocentre teams to conduct qualitative and quantitative marketing studies that reveal market opportunities and help to understand the usages of target consumer segments. Some of these studies were made for the World Bank via its CGAP agency whose function is to support financial inclusion.

Drawing on its international experience, Sofrecom plays an essential role at local level. We examine the regulatory context, define business models and find useful partnerships in each country, and we are closely involved in setting up framework agreements between Orange and partner banks. 

Sofrecom experts have helped optimize the Orange Money rollout by defining business processes adapted to mobile payment, which have been taken on board by Mobinil (Orange Egypt), Orange Uganda and Orange Kenya. In the Democratic Republic of Congo we set up the retailing system for Orange Money in anticipation of the upcoming launch. 

Once the service is running, Sofrecom assists Orange subsidiaries with a wide range of issues, for example changes in pricing policy (Cameroon), distribution network optimization (Senegal), or new service launches (Madagascar). We also advise on much more strategic decisions such as scenarios for integrating Orange Money in Orange’s core distribution system. More generally, Sofrecom helps Orange build long-term winning strategies by advising on the conduct of its business, the definition of annual targets and the sharing of best practices between countries.

Orange Money achieves its objectives

Orange Money is a great success in Africa with more than 7.5 million users. Orange’s ambition now, having already reached most of its initial societal and commercial objectives, is to extend the service to all its countries of presence in Africa and the Middle East. 

Sofrecom’s already strong relations with Orange corporate entities and subsidiaries have been consolidated by this success. The Orange Money partnership is expected to be of long duration as the service is developed and launched across the AMEA zone.

Sofrecom’s recognized expertise all along the m-payment value chain can be invaluable to telcos and banking organizations wishing to develop their own solutions.

We created a partnership with Sofrecom so they could help us define the Orange Money strategy and provide operational support for our subsidiaries in Democratic Republic of Congo, Senegal, Madagascar, Ivory Coast, and so on. This means we can provide them with continuous field assistance, which would not have been possible with a small team.
The excellence of Sofrecom’s work has greatly facilitated our missions and helped us capitalize some experience which can be shared with the other subsidiaries.

Frédéric BLEHAUT
Orange Money Director
Orange Group / AMEA