18 May 2017

Liberia: Telecom Giant Orange Promises More GSM Penetration in Liberia

Monrovia — Orange, one of the world's leading telecommunications operators announced Thursday, May 18, 2017 the launch of its brand in Liberia automatically changing Cellcom to Orange Liberia.

The acquisition of the former operator Cellcom was finalized by orange through its subsidiary Orange Cote d'Ivoire, on April 6, 2016, allowing the group to reinforce its presence in West Africa.

The company has expressed a commitment to keeping existing promotions and programs already started by their predecessor.

The new company is expected to invest over 20M United States dollars in the economy of Liberia but request tax flexibility from Government.

Bruno Mettling, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Orange Group and chairman and CEO of Orange Middle East and Africa commended government for repealing the 0.01 percent tax on calls.

In line with its Essentials 2020 strategic plan, Orange says it has built up considerable presence in the region, which offers strong growth potential, and is a strategic priority for the group's development.

According to the company in a statement, following the rebranding, Orange Liberia will join one of the world's most powerful brands and stands to benefit from being part of a large international group.

The company has promised to provide its marketing expertise and world-class technical capability to further strengthen the operator's established network and enhance customer service in Liberia.

With over 1.6 million customers at the end of February 2017, Orange Liberia is the leading mobile operator in Liberia in terms of customers.

Founded in 2004 as Cellcom, the mobile operator has been a driving force in democratizing access to telecommunication services across the country despite difficult market conditions.

It has always been a precursor in terms of network deployment and in 2012 was the first operator in Liberia to launch 3G (HSPA+) services following by 4G-LTE services in 2016.

"Orange will pursue this strategy and will continue to invest in the development of its network where the company is already a market leader," Bruno Mettling said.

With population of 4.6 million people and relatively low mobile penetration rate which is (70% of the population), Orange believe Liberia has a high growth potential for the company and will work to support development by re-enforcing the quality of access.

"For example, the construction of 39 sites in 2016 and 65 additional sites planned for 2017. Part of the plan is to accelerate broadband deployment and expand 4G penetration across the country," the company said.

Orange also said as part of its plans, they are actively working to enhance internet quality by providing access to the group's submarine and international cable networks.

Orange is also expected to benefit from additional secure connection points in Abidjan and Paris that will multiply network capacity fourfold.

Mettling, said, with this new presence in Liberia, Orange has extended its footprint in West Africa and the launch of the Orange brand confirms its confidence in the country's on-going economic recovery and are committed to bring all the benefits of digital services to Liberians.

Reinforcing Mettling's statement, Mamadou Coulibaly , CEO of Orange Liberia said that even in 2017, a significant part of the Liberian population are still waiting for basic telecom services, and promised to significantly invest in network roll-out across the entire country.

"We will invest significantly in network roll-out across the entire country; develop e-recharge in order to ease the constraints of services in the country.

We will as well as introduce new, highly competitive offers, and low cost smartphones in order to boost digital inclusion.

We intend to position Orange Liberia by 2020 as a true catalyst for the digitization of Liberian society," Coulibaly added.

Orange is presently in 21 countries in Africa and the Middle East, where it has more than 120 million customers. With 5.2 billion euros in revenues in 2016 (12% of the total), this region is a strategic priority for the group.

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