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Vendredi, 10 Septembre 2010 13:51
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Google in Discussion With Local Telecoms for Partnership

By Walter Wafula

KAMPALA, Uganda, September 10, 2010 (The Monitor) — Google, a United States-based online information search company, is in discussions with MTN and Orange Uganda for business partnerships to vend its products in the country. The talks could lead to easy access and lower prices of products of the information technology company in Uganda.

Besides software applications like; search, mail, and chrome, Google sells company adverts, and high end phones like Nexus One and Android. Mr Nelson Mattos, the vice president Google Europe, Middle East and Africa met the Chief Executive of MTN Uganda Mr Themba Khumalo, and Orange executives in Kampala, to discuss the deals.

"I have just met the CEO of MTN and we have a meeting coming up to discuss the details," Mr Mattos told Daily Monitor in an interview in Kampala.


Google has already signed product distribution deals with Kenya's largest mobile operator Safaricom and Vodacom in South Africa. In Uganda, Google and MTN currently offer an SMS-based service known as MTN Google SMS. Mr Khumalo, was not immediately available for a comment on the discussions when contacted.


Confirmed discussions

However, Mr Eduard Blondeau, the chief officer strategy, Broadband at Orange Uganda confirmed to Daily Monitor that the two companies are negotiating deals.


"It is natural for us to work together to see how to sell our products and also benefit the customers," Mr Blondeau said. "We definitely have plans of rolling out their products," he added in a phone interview.


Direct procurement of Google products from the firm by Uganda's telecoms is expected to lower the cost of the products by cutting out middle-men from the deals.


Mr Mattos said the company is now focusing on Africa because of the infrastructure advancement that have been made to facilitate the delivery of services by the internet and mobile phones. "The African market is growing very first. All those problems that used to hinder development in Africa are now gone because now there are all these fibre optic cables that can support the use of internet," he said.


Africa has 1 billion people and is now the largest market after China and India. Three high speed internet cables (fibre optics) are now operational in the East Africa, linking the region to the rest of the world. These conditions he said; are a motivation for Google to move into Africa unlike before.


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