September 28, 2022

Sierra Leone’s leading telecoms company has made clear it plans of increasing its communication sites to 580 in 2021.  The move is to enhance communication and internet services throughout Sierra Leone. 47Km of fibre would be added to the existing fibre networks with assurances of transformation.

The disclosure was made by a senior official at Orange Sierra Leone, Daniel Fornah during a press briefing held at Orange Sierra Leone headquaters. Fornah told journalists that a new Data Centre would be constructed in the southern city of Bo.

In 2016, Orange Sierra Leone entered Sierra Leone’s telecoms industry. In just five years, it has made impressive inroads in the industry. It has made so much impact in the industry regarding communication coverage and internet penetration. The company takes pride in the strongest, fastest and widest network coverage than any other telecoms company in Sierra Leone.

Without any fear of contradiction, 4 out of every 5 Sierra Leoneans enjoy Orange communication services including those in the most remote communities. The company has come a long way in the communication industry, it has seen so much but still ready to do more.

Although studies have shown that Sierra Leone has one of the lowest smart phone penetrations in Africa, Orange Company’s zeal is not dampened in expanding its investment facilities in the country.

During the press briefing the previous week, the company’s  current state of its communication services was presented by Fornah via power point. During the presentation, the company’s coverage map for 2020 was shown to participants.

The map shows that Orange Sierra Leone had 440 sites in 2020 catering for the communication needs of the people of Sierra Leone. Those in the most remote communities also benefit from the company’s viable communication networks. Fornah said the company had 440 sites which covered 78% of the localities.

410 sites were 4G with 41% localities. Towards the end of 2020, Orange Sierra Leone rolled out a fibre covering over 1,000 localities. 21 sites were collocated with Q-cell and Afcon mobile network communication services.

In 2020, he went on, a total of 50 sites were 2G and 3G with 170 sites standalone 2G networks. He said 440 sites were collocated by the time they moved over to 4G networks. In the same year, the telecoms company ensured a 75% expansion of its 4G networks in the country.

The company’s expansion drive is also bolstered by its desire to build local entrepreneurs through Orange Social Venture Prize (OSVP).

An official in the Public Relations Department, Annie Katta said the company was determined to make local entrepreneurs through technology. In the implementation of the project, she said, women were placed at the centre. The OSVP, she continued, had prizes range of Le100M adding that participants stand to win between Le50M and Le60M Leones.

Madam Katta called on potential applicants to go for both local and international competitions. She explained the disadvantages that lie ahead of going only for the local application. “If you keep it local, you have only one chance if you are disqualified. But if one applies for both local and international competitions, you have one more chance if you are disqualified locally,” she explained.

Apart from OSVP, the communication’s officer also spoke about the company’s protection of the environment. She said the company was very much concerned about the safety of the environment by supporting the green revolution.

“The company is moving from grid to energy,” she assured.

The energy migration means solar panels would be used in all Orange Sierra Leone’s facilities. “We will ensure that every site has a solar energy,” the Public Relations Officer also assured. During the Press briefing, Orange Money Chief Executive Officer (CEO), David Mansaray spoke about the positive impact Orange Money service has made on its customers.

Through the use Orange Money in business transactions, Mr Mansaray said, five lucky customers won five new brand cars quite recently. The five customers were in a jubilant mood when keys of the five cars were presented to them.

Orange Money digital lending facility was also not left out in the press briefing. The lending facility known as the ‘Lajor Lending Scheme’ is a micro loan to which every Sierra Leonean has access. “If you run out of money, you can borrow up to Le500, 000,” he said.

Orange Money CEO also spoke about the Cash-at-Hope which enables customers who have money in their phones to get an instant access to it should the need arise.

He also touched on the Wallet-to-Account and Account-to-Wallet programme initiated by Orange Sierra Leone. Towards the realisation of the programme, Orange Sierra Leone is now in partnership with key commercial banks in the country.

Banks with the largest customer base was targeted in the new partnership.  Rokel Commercial and Sierra Leone commercial banks have been the principal targets for the Orange Money partnership.

The service, he said, enabled customers to move money from their bank accounts and vice versa adding that the money could be moved within 24 hours round the clock. The move by Orange Sierra Leone to network with banks is part of its financial inclusion strategies.

Head of Marketing, Felix Macauley said new strategies of marketing were under way. He said the company had rolled out the ‘ORANGE LEK YOU’ ‘LOVE DON SWEET’ AND ‘SHORKI LOVE’ among others.