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Orange takes 5G to Africa

New healthcare, education and security services to be enabled in Southern African country as global telco unveils first affiliate in continent of Africa to launch 5G commercially

In a launch designed to not only add further support innovation and digital inclusion in the country, but also mark the operator’s first entry into the continent of Africa with next-generation mobile services, Orange Botswana has become the first division of the global telco to offer 5G.

Putting Botswana at the forefront of 5G in Africa is said to be closely aligned with the Botswanan government’s ambition to leverage Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) innovation towards transforming Botswana into a knowledge-based economy.

It follows the launch of Botswana’s first Orange Digital Centre, designed to help bridge the digital divide and prepare Botswana youth for employment in a blossoming digital ecosystem.

The Orange Botswana 5G service will come into operation with a coverage of 30% of the population, including Greater Gaborone and Francistown. Other cities will follow in early 2023.

Orange Botswana has also partnered with MRI Botswana to create a Connected Ambulance project that will allow doctors to guide paramedics through life-saving procedures on their way to hospitals. This telemedicine intervention will change lives, and would not have been possible without 5G. Orange Botswana is looking forward to collaborating with government and enterprises to implement 5G-based use cases.

As it made the launch, Orange noted that 5G, with its ultra-high speed and low latency, will support what it called “disruptive” new services such as e-health, connected vehicles, connected cities, real-time gaming, smart homes and learning through virtual reality and augmented reality. It offers a new world of possibilities to companies, innovators and society at large.

After the launch of its 5G services in Botswana, Orange Middle East and Africa (MEA) said it intends to maintain its efforts in getting the latest generation of mobile infrastructures in all of its MEA countries, adding value to local economies and continuously bridging the digital gap in the African populations.

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Orange observed that in other countries, regulation boards still have not officially initiated the 5G licenses attribution process, although many of them, such as in Cote d’Ivoire, showed a clear will to make the 5G spectrum available in 2023. Orange is also collaborating with several regulatory bodies to help build a 5G deployment roadmap while testing the technology and developing use cases that fit with the local populations’ need.

“The launch of 5G technology in Botswana will allow us to scale-up this technology and gain experience for other Orange countries across Africa,” said Orange Middle East and Africa CEO Jerôme Henique.

“The benefits and potential impact of this are promising. It will help promote Africa’s digital inclusion, resulting in socio-economic growth and job creation. It is also ensuring Africa’s skills development on digital management tools and is in line with the ambitions of the African union digital transformation for Africa (2022 – 2030). It begins here and now, in Botswana.”

Orange Botswana CEO Nene Maiga added. “At Orange Botswana, we are excited to be bringing in a new technology that will allow economic players to discover new possibilities enabled by 5G, and the way it could positively transform their daily activities.

“5G connectivity is an incredible opportunity for businesses and the government, who are eager to take their operations to the next level. It is going to change how customers experience connectivity.”

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