Central African Republic: Orange Expands Digital Connectivity in CAR

Bangui — THE Central African Republic's (CAR's) subscriber base is set for a major expansion following a partnership involving some global technology and infrastructure companies.

Orange, the mobile operator, has selected Parallel Wireless, the radio access network (RAN) firm, and i-engineering Group, a provider of end-to-end solutions in infrastructure and managed services in Africa and Emerging Markets, for the project.

This is part of Orange's implementation of its Include Digital in Every African Life (IDEAL) programme.

The initiative aims to provide digital services to their customers who do not have any connectivity.

Orange has elected the above-mentioned firms to extend the current coverage and expand their current 700 000 subscriber base across the Central African country as the first deployment.

HervéSuquet, Chief Technology and Information Officer: Orange Middle East and Africa, said the IDEAL programme would provide reliable connectivity to customers, backed by innovative infrastructure.

"The combination of RAN openness and virtualization, automation and new revenue-generating opportunities will enable Orange to lead the market to meet the needs of our customers most effectively in CAR," Suquet said.

Orange is the most recent company to join the CAR telecommunications market, which is comprised of four operators.

The conflict-prone country is digitally divided with only 48 percent unique mobile connections and limited network infrastructure.

Traditional 2G, 3G or 4G networks require expensive and bulky equipment to deploy and operate.

These hardware-based networks are denounced as difficult and pricey to upgrade.

"Implementing our world's leading Open RAN platform will allow Orange to enable new subscriber services to be deployed quickly, seamlessly and more reliably," said Bernard Lamy, Sales Director, Parallel Wireless, said.

Moov, NationLink Telecom and Telecel are the other mobile network operators in the country of some 5 million people. The total mobile subscriber base 1,25 million.

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