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Orange in talks with Airtel, may gain largest African footprint

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Orange Telecoms would emerge the largest mobile operator in Africa if discussions it has started with India’s Airtel yield an acquisition agreement.

The companies said Monday that they are exploring the possible acquisition by Orange of Airtels subsidiaries in Burkina Faso, Chad, Congo Brazzaville and Sierra Leone; if that comes to pass, Orange will have the biggest geographical footprint of any mobile operator on the continent.

Airtel offers 2G, 3G services and Airtel Money across 17 African countries while Orange is present in 16. An acquisition would give Orange a better position in West Africa, particularly in French-speaking countries, where it has a strong footing.

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