At their core, great companies are ultimately built and defined by their people. With a world-class organization guided by the direction of a visionary leader, Eng. Yasser Shaker, Orange Egypt today has evolved with an enormous turnaround into a pre-eminent ICT service provider with a wide scope of services that is beyond connectivity!
In 2019, the company succeeded in becoming profitable once again after 10 years of incurring losses and is currently continuing to invest in a number of fields in the ICT sector to achieve a consistent double-digit growth rate.
As a key subsidiary of Orange Group – one of the world’s leading mobile network operators with operations in 26 countries – Orange Egypt today employs 12,000 people both directly and indirectly and has expanded its customer base to be the largest customer base among its group, which makes Egypt its largest market worldwide.
Orange Group has increased the size of its capital investments in the Egyptian market by €750 million in one go, which reflects the company’s commitments to the Egyptian market and its people. Such commitments are further exemplified by Orange’s recent strategic initiatives for infrastructure, talent and service programs.
Telecom Review Africa had the opportunity to conduct an exclusive interview with Orange Egypt CEO Yasser Shaker, and to meet with some of the company’s executives to know more about Orange Egypt’s key milestones, achievements and turnarounds.
The Key to Success
“People are the most important asset in our company and I strongly believe that having a diversified team that works in harmony is what makes a difference,” said Shaker. 40% of the company’s executive committee are women, which proves Orange’s support for gender equality. It was the first telecom operator from the MEA region to receive the European International Gender Equality Certificate (GEEIS) three times. Orange Egypt has launched a transformational program that embraces all of its workforces and offers a flexible work environment that promotes collaboration and productivity. The recognition program is centered around people who appreciate the company’s values.
“Having a strong network is one of our main priorities to better serve our customers,” noted Shaker. Orange invests around EGP 4 billion annually which is directed towards the continuous improvement of service quality. Most of the funds are employed to boost data transmission, coverage, smart solutions, security services and construction of new stations to add to its 8,500 currently operational tower stations that support 4G services. The company already leads the fastest 4G mobile networks as measured and accredited by the Ookla Speedtest in recent years.
“Smart, is a key word in today’s digital era and actually is crucial for mobile operators to thrive,” said Shaker. That is what Orange Egypt attempts to achieve through its SMART objectives on both internal and external levels, as the company is positioned at the core of this smart ecosystem, offering smart solutions, investing in networks, systems, innovations, digital and financial solutions, value-added services, talents and others, in order to deliver an outstanding customer experience that enables them to be smarter. “Being ‘smart’ is a cycle; as one part of the ecosystem gets smarter, the rest of the system gets smarter and vice versa,” Shaker added.
“Data is growing at an accelerating pace, whereas data systems are getting more efficient day by day, and it powers everything we do!” That’s how Shaker responded when we asked him about data. He explained that Business Intelligence tools and systems enable our teams to take the right decisions in real-time.
“As businesses are becoming excessively dependent on technology, the roles of cybersecurity, IoT and artificial intelligence will be more important and will eventually create more career opportunities in the future that may have been previously unimaginable,” Shaker elaborated.
Orange Egypt has recently won a five-year commercial tender to provide high-quality voice and data mobile network coverage to Telecom Egypt’s customers. Based on a competitive bid process, Orange Egypt was selected due to its ideal strategic fit, technical advantages and commercial rationale for Telecom Egypt’s growth objectives. The partnership between the two companies represents a cornerstone in the strategic relationship between the two companies.
In recent history, Orange has developed focused partnerships and investments within the financial services sector. Orange Group has been one of the first telecom operators in the world to launch a bank. In addition, it owns one of the strongest financial solutions in Africa “Orange Money” which has grown its wallet services and transactional capabilities exponentially with annual transaction volumes of €80 billion. This reflects and demonstrates Orange’s excellence in financial services expertise and its continuous commitment to accelerate financial inclusion.
Orange Egypt will also launch its updated platform of Orange Cash soon, following its strategic partnership with the National Bank of Egypt which has further strengthened its services within the financial ecosystem. Under the terms of the partnership, Orange Cash customers will benefit from the wallet services, as it is the easiest, fastest and most efficient way to complete all their financial transactions remotely. Moreover, they can purchase goods from merchants via QR codes or Visa Virtual Credit Cards and manage financial transactions either through Orange branches, Fawry outlets or NBE ATMs.
Orange Egypt is also focused on the expansion of its service portfolio and the development of new revenue streams that includes a plan to build the biggest data center in the Middle East for the Egyptian government in the new administrative capital, with investments of more than US$135 million. Orange’s vision strives to design, build and operate this data center for five years in conjunction with 20+ vendors, supported by its various arms operating in Egypt and more than 2000 engineers to deliver various services such as cybersecurity, multi-cloud services, SDN, data analytics, Artificial Intelligence, smart mobility and research and development. Currently nearing the delivery date of its first phase, this data center will host the City’s Operation Center, oversee its automation and offer hosting solutions and services as well. Through this venture, Orange Egypt established a pole position as the system integrator partner of choice for critical strategic projects across both the public and private sectors with frictionless experiences for its customers that are beyond traditional telecommunication methods.
Furthermore, Orange Egypt is offering its customers a large set of cloud solutions through its own data center in Alexandria, where Shaker said that the demand for these solutions is starting to near capacity. For this reason, the company’s most recent strategic plan named capacity expansion in the data center as a key near-term priority to be able to cater to customer needs while building cyber defense resilience against cyberattacks that are emerging as a national security issue for nations globally. “The more open you are to the world, the more you need to be careful,” said Shaker.
“It is rare for operators to invest in such a wide range of integrated services. Our decision to double down on these ventures reflects our belief in the future and boosts innovation that is embedded in our company’s DNA,” said Shaker.
Seeing Opportunities in Every Challenge
“There are always opportunities that must be seized in every crisis we face, and now the digital transformation is the real game changer for transforming the businesses in a really fast, safe, and efficient manner to best deliver an unmatched customer experience” said Shaker. As with many other businesses, COVID-19 represented a milestone. However, the factors that were initially considered to be obstacles became accelerators for change; as the pandemic expedited digital and financial transformation substantially ahead of their planned timelines. It transformed consumer behaviors and patterns in a permanent manner. Orange Egypt succeeded to fulfill the potential gaps following the repercussions of COVID-19. It implemented its smart investment plans during the past years which enabled its employees and customers to effectively function and perform their daily tasks remotely through the right digital solutions.
Startups: The Heartbeat for a Promising Future
Orange Egypt is committed to responsibility across its activities and interactions with stakeholder communities. This sense of responsibility is a core value that has been placed at the heart of the Group’s strategic plan and seeps into all of the Group’s subsidiaries. It focuses on four key pillars: (i) education, (ii) entrepreneurship, (iii) health, and (iv) youth and women empowerment.
With the monumental rise of the innovation and entrepreneurship sectors that Egypt has experienced in recent years, Orange Egypt has been a vocal champion and supporter of the ecosystem that supports young talents to help them transform napkin ideas into reality.
In December 2021, the company inaugurated the first Orange Digital Center in Egypt that is dedicated to the development of digital skills and innovation to train youths in digital technology and enhance their employability. This Digital Center brings together four strategic programs of the Orange Group, namely: (i) a coding School, (ii) a solidarity FabLab (one of the Orange Foundation's digital manufacturing workshops), (iii) an Orange Fab start-up accelerator, and (iv) Orange Ventures, an investment fund. The Orange Digital Center has already trained more than 1,000 young Egyptians through its various programs.
Being a Responsible Company
Orange believes that its positive environment approach makes a difference that comes in line with its core values. Orange is committed to the environment and those commitments are translated into concrete and measurable actions. We are committed to significantly reducing CO2 emissions by 30% in 2025. “We aim to achieve digital equality and save the planet” stated Shaker.
Orange Egypt is on a mission to enable its people to accelerate the digital development of the Egyptian society by providing innovative solutions & unmatched customer experience. “We want our customers to love the brand, what we stand for, and what we present,” concluded Shaker.