A zoom on our networks in Africa

For customers on the African continent, mobile networks play a central role. They are the number one means of communication allowing customers to communicate by voice or SMS. They support the dynamism of development on the scale of the continent. A great increase in the speed of the growth of these networks is taking place today, thanks to uses related to smartphones.

To support customers, Orange has launched major infrastructure projects in 20 countries in Africa and the Middle East. Our teams are already able to address 110 million customers. The deployments which have been made solve two problems:

  • Extending the mobile coverage of rural areas in order to provide Internet access to as many people as possible.
  • Optimizing network performance, in particular by deploying 4G technology.

Orange has thus begun to deploy 4G in 4 countries: Botswana, Jordan, Morocco, and Mauritius. Other countries, such as Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Egypt, and Algeria will soon benefit from the deployment of a 4G network within their borders.

Mobile networks on the African continent: a key role which they do not play anywhere else.

Democratizing access to the Internet

Due to its highly dispersed habitat, for a long time Africa has relied on satellite communications, which are expensive but which suit its specific needs. Today, with the deployment of the Internet, a whole infrastructure needs to be deployed using:

  • Radio masts.
  • Undersea cables for conveying international communications.

This work constitutes a considerable, complicated and expensive stage, so it must be long-lasting. Consequently, the cables used consist of fiber optic or very high capacity undersea cables, with an average lifespan of 10 years. Only the equipment placed at each end can be improved. Their initial capacity may be 10 Gb, which can subsequently be increased to 100 Gb. Through the deployment of this very high speed fiber optic infrastructure, the price of connectivity can be divided by 7 in certain African countries.

  • At the end of 2015, a major new stage was completed with the commissioning of the ACE (Africa Coast to Europe) undersea cable: 17,000 km of fiber optic cable, serving the continent’s entire Atlantic coast, installed by a consortium led by Orange and its local subsidiaries (Côte d’Ivoire Telecom, Orange Cameroon, Orange Mali, Orange Niger, and Sonatel, etc.).