By Fatmata Jengbe
Definitely it could be no gainsay to assert that Orange Sierra Leone is the country’s premier telecommunications company that has been in the lead to a vail members of the public access to various modern and qualitative communications packages at affordable rates and at the same time giving utmost satisfaction to many as far as communication is concerned. It will, therefore, not come as any big surprise to maintain that there is no room for questioning why the company’s subscriber base continues to expand by leaps and bounds as more and more people are becoming eager to join the most dependable and trusted network family.
It is on record that the company, up to the end of 2019, invested a total of $114.4 million dollars (One hundred and fourteen Million four hundred thousand dollars) in excess in the modernization of its passive infrastructure, generators, DC power systems and RAN Equipment. With the overall vision to deliver an unmatched service in the country’s telecoms sector such an investment was prudently done in order to match up with improved standards and to broaden connectivity so that residents in areas that were hitherto not served begin to enjoy the benefits of mobile communication and internet browsing.
To expand rural connectivity the company built forty five (45) new sites in 2017; forty two (42) in 2018 and 29 in 2019 which culminated into the connection of 1,170 new locations across the country with voice, data/internet and Orange Money financial services becoming possible in remote communities.
Undoubtedly, such an expansion has improved small scale businesses and inter-community and border trade.
Though the expansionist drive was fraught with challenges such as site accessibility; heavy rains; core node migration impact on voice and data services; localized service availability during equipment replacement; shipment delays amongst others, yet the dogged determination on the part of the company to improve communications in the country created the impetus to get it completed.
It is no doubt that the company is now the proud owner of over 925 sites across the country with the widest network coverage of around 74%.
Orange Sierra Leone has also enhanced its operations by partnering with a number of financial players which are no doubt leveraging on the huge customer base of the Orange Money platform to provide increased financial services to their customers. This is against the backdrop that the creation and operation of banks in traditional communities is quite pretty expensive.
It is also in line with the clarion call of the Central Bank and the Government of Sierra Leone to integrate financial services and improve rural connectivity for many Sierra Leoneans.
2019 saw Orange Sierra Leone creating very strong partnership with Zenith and UBA Banks, the Sierra Leone Road Safety Authority, the Guma Valley Water Company, EDSA etc.
The company’s financial service in the country has provided employment for over 5,000 people directly and indirectly; and has enabled people to transfer money, pay for goods and services in shops, supermarkets and stalls, undertakes salary payments and payment for utility bills, amongst others.
In terms of rolling out its the Corporate Social Responsibility, Orange Sierra Leone has implemented various ambitious and costly projects as a way of giving back to society and its numerous subscribers. Just recently the company committed 1.5 million dollar to the country’s free and quality education, it gives two billion Leones yearly support to 50 kids at various SOS homes in Bo, Kenema and other major towns. 20,000 Euros was provided as support to the building of a separate orthopedic and pediatric theatre unit at the Connaught Hospital for children, amongst other key supports to the religious community and the Freetown City Council’s environmental and sanitation drive.
The company continues to leave a very strong footprint in the Educational, Health, Environment and the empowerment of women and children.
It is the intention of Management of the company to continue to expand the network by building more sites, connecting rural areas in line with the Government’s aspirations.
The company’s strategic milestones, both in terms of direct and indirect investment in the people would go a long way to enhance its profile and leave it as the people’s choice.