The Ivorian government has signed a merger deal with the Orange Group that will give the French telco greater control in the national fixed line carrier, Ivory Coast Telecom.
The merger, which has been an ongoing topic of discussion for four years, will be completed in June and will facilitate the introduction of a single entity called Orange Ivory Coast.
According to the Ivorian Minister of the Digital Economy, Bruno Koné, the State of Ivory Coast will hold 31% stake in the new entity against 69% for the Orange Group. It benefits the state in many ways, he said, especially as the operation would be realised without any financial commitment on its part.
Aside the expansion drive, the merger is also expected to encourage the simplification of internal management procedures to raise funds more easily to finance investments, particularly in the optical fiber sector.
The new entity will accommodate 11 million fixed and mobile subscribers and about four million internet subscribers.
Orange recently acquired telecom deals in neighbouring countries. In January, it acquired 100% of Cellcom, the second mobile operator in Liberia, while two other acquisitions Airtel in Burkina Faso and Sierra Leone are yet to be completed.
Liberia is Orange's 20th market in the Middle East and Africa region.
Also coming two years after its main competitor MTN-CI opened a data center in the country, Orange opened its data center last week to offer various solutions for backup and data management including the cloud.
According to its Q1 2016 report, Orange counted 111.8 million mobile customers at the end of the quarter in the Africa and Middle East market - up 2.8% year-on-year.
Côte d'Ivoire is one of the African countries highlighted by the telco as the main contributors to growth in the region.
Others are Guinea and Cameroon.