France Telecom-Orange has signed an agreement with IHS, a major mobile infrastructure operator in Africa to run its 2,000 towers in Côte d’Ivoire and Cameroon in a move to improve mobile networks in the west African countries.
The 2,000 sites in Côte d’Ivoire and Cameroon will remain the property of the Orange but IHS will operate the towers for it for 15 Years.
Orange expects that IHS will bring specialist knowledge and skills to improve the customer experience whilst reducing Orange’s cost base.
IHS’ focus on the passive infrastructure will enable and accelerate further network modernisation, particularly in the areas of efficient grid and diesel utilisation and the growing use of renewable energy to power the network.
Through IHS’ tower sharing model, available space on these towers will be marketed to other mobile operators whilst Orange subsidiaries will benefit from access to available slots on towers that IHS currently owns in both countries. To further expand the network and meet local demand, IHS has committed to building new hybrid solar and generator power sites, thereby cutting diesel consumption at these sites by up to 70 percent. Solar-only sites are favoured in rural areas with low consumption where delivering diesel is more expensive.
Marc Rennard, Executive Director in charge of Africa, Middle East and Asia for the Orange Group, said: “Sharing passive infrastructure is a compelling opportunity for Orange to offer a better service to its customers in Africa and the Middle East through improved network coverage and reliability. It also allows us to drive efficiencies, reduce costs and manage the particular conditions in emerging markets such as the cost of energy and accessibility of sites. This agreement leaves open the possibility for Orange subsidiaries elsewhere in Africa and the Middle East to look into similar partnerships.”
According to Issam Darwish, CEO and Founder of IHS, “Placing tower infrastructure in the hands of mobile tower specialists benefits consumers, businesses and local economies, as well as the operators themselves.”
Darwish added, “Our 12 years’ experience in the market, coupled with strong relationships with mobile network operators and equipment suppliers, allows us to bring improvements right across the value chain. Through innovation and our engineering experience we are also able to bring environmental benefits to Côte d’Ivoire and Cameroon through a more efficient energy mix using solar power and the most up-to-date generator equipment.”