Orange Kenya CEO Mickael Ghossein (biztechafrica.com)
Speaking during a speaker panel discussing the digital ecosystem evolution at East Africa Com in Nairobi, Kenya, Orange chief executive officer (CEO) Mickael Ghossein called for more partnerships between Google and operators who feel the pinch from usage of Google’s products.
“Partnerships are key between the various providers. Revenue share between Google and mobile network operators is necessary as Google’s services and traffic utilise our networks,” he said.
“Google has to pay us as you can’t use the Orange network - which is like a highway for Google – without paying a fee to us to maintain the network.”
Although this is the first time the topic has been raised locally there has been a fierce exchange of views, in especially Europe where Free Telecom, based in France, at one point stopped Google adverts from appearing on their subscribers’ handsets.
“Users are not paying Google but paying us to access Google services. All operators are talking about the issue globally and this is not just an Orange issue with Google in Kenya. Network operators can’t be expected to have first-class infrastructure when others riding on their networks are utilising them for free,” Ghossein said.
Google East Africa lead Joe Mucheru however called for a sober discussion on the issue, questioning why operators in Kenya were announcing profits ranging into billions if Google was riding on their infrastructure.
“Should we also ask for a share of your profits some of which are as a result of access to our products?” Mucheru asked.