On Friday, Orange launched 5G in Botswana – the Group’s first commercial 5G launch in Africa.
In a briefing last week, Orange Botswana’s CEO, Nene Maiga, outlined details of the launch announcing that 30% of the population would be covered with 5G available in 2 major cities including Gaborone and Francistown. Further cities will be covered by the network in due course.
Orange is planning launches in approximately 6 additional countries in the MEA region in 2023. Regulatory agreements are currently be negotiated in Jordan, which is likely to be the next launch, followed by the Ivory Coast. Then, subject to agreeing the regulatory conditions, Senegal should follow.
According to Jerôme Henique, CEO of Orange Middle East and Africa, the Group sees 5G as an opportunity to complete their broadband portfolio in Africa. The limited availability and cost of 5G handsets is still a barrier to uptake of 5G in the continent, however Orange’s regional strategy will see the Group focus on connectivity for households through their 5G fixed broadband offering.
Offers will be available for residential customers, small and medium enterprises. The fixed offers are available from15Mbps for Prepaid and from 20Mbps for Postpaid with a monthly rental from BWP 699 (€53 per month).
Orange is also exploring the development of 5G use cases for enterprise customers in Africa with a particular focus on the mining industry and ports. Orange believes that the network of 5G labs, which the Group is opening in key locations in the MEA region, is a strong differentiator for Orange 5G. Henique said that the labs would be open to startups to develop new use cases which would prove beneficial for the local the local entrepreneur ecosystem.