Orange takes the African telco battle to MTN with the acquisition of Cellcom Liberia

Orange has continued its African expansion plan with the acquisition of Cellcom, Liberia’s leading mobile operator, through its subsidiary Orange Côte d’Ivoire. The deal makes Liberia the 20th country in Africa and the Middle East to join the Orange group.

“This acquisition is part of the international development strategy of Orange, which aims to accelerate growth by entering new emerging markets with high potential,” a statement by the French multinational telecoms corporation says. “This will enable Orange to strengthen its positions in Africa, where almost one in ten people are already customers.”

The Cellcom deal was completed in less than three months after an agreement was signed with the telco for the acquisition of its Liberian subsidiary. Orange has obtained all the official approvals necessary to complete the transaction.

Orange is confident its marketing expertise and world-class technical capability would further strengthen Cellcom Liberia’s established network and enhance customer service. The operator already has 1.4 million customers, 32.5 percent of Liberia’s population. But the French telecoms giant still sees high opportunity for business growth, especially with mobile penetration rate in the west African country at 66 percent of the population.

The company has Lonestar Cell to compete with in Liberia. The telco, a subsidiary of the MTN Group, owns and operates the largest wireless telecommunications network in Liberia, with 48 percent of the market share in 2011.