Orange has struck a deal with Google to provide its customers in Africa and the Middle East with a tailored package of Google services on Orange smartphones to meet local needs, the company said at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
The arrangement will see localised Google Search, YouTube and Maps services delivered to Orange customers taking its new $40 tariff plan, which includes the incoming Orange Rise 31 Special Edition smartphone, a quad-core Android 6.0 device with a 4-inch screen and 3G connectivity.
The $40 bundle, covering voice, SMS and data services, will be made available to all Orange customers in Africa and the Middle East in stages during Q2 this year. Orange said Rise 31 Special Edition would launch with native Google services, with local services and content to be developed “over time”.
Orange said it was the first mobile operator in Africa and the Middle East to strike a deal with Google on such a scale. Yves Maitre, Executive Vice President of Connected Objects and Partnerships at Orange, said: “We are able to bring direct value to our customers by offering the best access and services to ensure they get the most out of the mobile internet.”
Orange said the pair will design an “educational campaign” to help subscribers in the regions to “better understand the benefits and direct value [the] mobile internet can bring.” In its press announcement, it said responses to Google Search and Google Map enquiries would be localised in terms of both language and results.
The Orange Rise 31 Special Edition will be the company’s flagship 3G device in Africa and the Middle East. It will run Google’s Android 6.0 Marshmallow OS and the latest version of Orange Experience 8, and feature 1GB RAM and 8GB ROM memory, a 1500mAH battery and a three megapixel camera with LED flash.