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Orange Penetrates Deeper into West Africa with Liberia Launch

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Orange Penetrates Deeper into West Africa with Liberia Launch

Orange Penetrates Deeper into West Africa with Liberia Launch

By Dipo Olowookere

On Thursday, May 18, 2017, one of the world’s leading telecommunications operators, Orange, continued its penetration into the West African market with the launch of its brand in Liberia.

The firm acquired Cellcom Liberia through its subsidiary, Orange Côte d’Ivoire, on April 6, 2016, allowing the Group to reinforce its presence in West Africa. After finalising the deal, it changed the name to Orange Liberia.

In line with its Essentials2020 strategic plan, Orange has built up a considerable presence in this region, which offers strong growth potential and is a strategic priority for the Group’s development.

Following this 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. Orange will 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, 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.

With a population of 4.6 million people and relatively low mobile penetration rate (70% of the population) the country has a high growth potential for Orange.

Bruno Mettling, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Orange Group and Chairman and CEO of Orange Middle East and Africa, commented: “With this new presence in Liberia, Orange extends its footprint in West Africa. The launch of the Orange brand confirms our confidence in the country’s ongoing economic recovery and our commitment to bring all the benefits of new digital services to Liberians”.

Mamadou Coulibaly, CEO of Orange Liberia, added: “Even in 2017, an important part of the Liberian population is still waiting for basic telecom services. We will invest significantly in network roll-out across the entire country, develop e-recharge in order to ease the constraints of scratch-cards loading, launch Orange Money, a new robust platform to boost mobile banking services in the country. We will as well 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”.

Orange is present 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. Orange Money, its flagship offer for money transfers and mobile financial services, is currently available in 17 countries and has more than 31 million customers. The Group’s strategy in Africa and the Middle East is to position itself as a leader of the digital transformation and to bring its international expertise to support the development of new digital services.

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan. Mr Olowookere can be reached via dipo.olowookere@businesspost.ng

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CBN Gives Interswitch Payments Service Holding Company License

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Interswitch

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

A Payments Service Holding Company (PSHC) license has been granted to Interswitch Group by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

This followed an earlier announcement by the CBN regarding new licensing categories for participants in the Nigerian payments system.

The integrated payments solution provider is among the first to receive this authorisation from the country’s apex bank.

According to the regulator, the PSHC regulation requires companies with existing or prospective operations across multiple license categories to set up a PSHC. The activities of each of the PSHC subsidiaries operating within those respective licensing regimes are clearly delineated for clearer accountability, effective risk management and the enablement of better regulatory oversight by the CBN.

A statement from Interswitch, a leading financial technology in Africa, outlines that Interswitch’s Group Holding Company retains ownership of the PSHC in Nigeria as well as its other subsidiaries outside of Africa.

The issuance of the PSHC licence coincides with Interswitch’s 20th-anniversary commemoration, which has seen the company cement its position as a pioneering and integral enabler that has actively supported the growth and development of fintech and payments progressively across Africa over the last 20 years.

It also serves to reinforce Interswitch’s progressive outlook as a frontier-driving company which keeps pushing boundaries to facilitate the creation of new ecosystems that help businesses and individuals scale and thrive, in line with its purpose of inspiring Africa to greatness through innovation, value-creation and excellence.

“Twenty years ago, we placed a bet on the latent potential we saw in the introduction of e-payment channels at the time, particularly ATMs for the delivery of cash just-in-time, and today, we are gratified to see how far the financial technology and payment systems in Nigeria have grown.

“On the back of our receipt of this additional license, we remain strongly committed to a close partnership with the Central Bank of Nigeria to facilitate the delivery of the Payments Vision (2025) and, of course, the National Financial Inclusion Strategy,” the founder and Group CEO of Interswitch, Mr Mitchell Elegbe, remarked.

He further reiterates Interswitch’s resolute focus on its over-arching mission to continue championing technology solutions that connect and empower individuals, businesses, and communities across the continent.

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Mafab Rolls Out 5G Services in Nigeria

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Mafab 5G Network

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

Another player has joined the 5G network space in Nigeria, and it is Mafab Communications Limited, which won the licence with MTN Nigeria Plc in December 2021.

After it obtained the licence from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for $273.6 million, it delayed its rollout, while its competitor, MTN, started in August in a few cities.

Business Post reports that Mafab on Tuesday held a ceremony at the International Conference Centre (ICC), Abuja, to commence operations in the country, promising to deepen broadband penetration.

“We are fully committed to bringing the benefits of 5G services to Nigerians and deploying a network that will drive economic development with increased broadband capabilities nationwide.

“I have no doubt that the service will help deliver improvements in the fields of education, business, smart cities and entertainment,” the Chairman of Mafab, Mr Mushabu Bashir, said.

It was gathered that Mafab would largely use existing infrastructure from IHS towers and, if need be, ATC Nigeria Wireless Infrastructure Solutions as well for its operations.

Recall that last month, the NCC again auctioned the 3.5GHz spectrum, which was won by Airtel Nigeria, which intends to launch its operations very soon.

It is not certain how much the Mafab 5G network services would cost. When MTN rolled out its 5G services last year, it sold the device for N50,000 and asked interested customers to pre-order the 5G router.

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Airtel Introduces eSIM

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Airtel eSIM

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

To make communication easier and reduce the cost of procuring handsets for multiple SIMs, Airtel Nigeria has introduced an embedded SIM (eSIM).

A statement issued by the leading telecommunications services provider disclosed that the planet-friendly service allows customers to use two numbers without needing two mobile phones.

This digital SIM, according to Airtel Nigeria, also enables customers to access the same functionality as someone using a physical SIM.

It offers several benefits over traditional SIM cards as it is quick and simple to set up online, and it is planet-friendly (plastic-free/zero carbon emission).

The eSIM service is now immediately available on the Airtel network, and customers who wish to switch their current physical SIM cards for eSIMs will need to ensure they have a compatible device (dial*#06#), obtain the required QR code and be guided through a SIM Swap process by an Airtel service personnel.

Airtel says it has developed a simple and flawless process to activate the eSIM service for all its customers, just as it believes that the digital SIM will significantly improve the productivity of Nigerians, helping its stakeholders to achieve personal and professional goals.

The acting chief commercial officer for Airtel Nigeria, Mr Femi Oshinlaja, while commenting on the eSIM, stated that, “Airtel Nigeria is always at the forefront in championing technological advancement and creating innovative platforms and opportunities that will make life better, more exciting, and more enjoyable for all those in our stakeholder value chain.

“With eSIM, we are not only bringing the latest technology to the fingertips of our customers, but we are also focusing on our Sustainability goals of digital inclusion and environmental best practices as no plastic is involved with eSIM.

“It is, therefore, our commitment to continue to create offerings that will expand and deepen our digital footprints in line with our positioning as the network of first choice in Nigeria for everything mobile Internet, digital and home broadband.”

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