(Ecofin Agency) - Orange Madagascar is stepping up investments in rural infrastructure to bring mobile services to the unconnected half of the Malagasy population. The company signed an agreement in January with NuRan Wireless to build 500 new telecom sites over ten years.
Telecom operator Orange Madagascar has signed an agreement with telecom tower builder Africa Mobile Networks (AMN) to further expand its network coverage in rural areas in Madagascar. Under that agreement, the two partners intend to deploy at least 500 base stations under the Network-as-a-Service (NaaS) model over the next ten years.
The sites to be built under this project will support both 2G and 3G. Their deployment has already begun and some are expected to be operational by the end of 2023, we learn.
The partnership comes about a month after Orange Madagascar signed a similar agreement with Canadian company NuRAN Wireless to deploy 500 telecom sites on Madagascar's east coast, as part of its strategic goal to establish itself as the leading digital service provider in the country.
The investment in rural areas is expected to accelerate Orange Madagascar's ambition, as these areas have a high concentration of unconnected people, and therefore potential telecom subscribers. According to the Communication Technology Regulatory Authority (ARTEC), only 46.38% of the Malagasy population has access to mobile telecom services. The project is expected to enable the telecom operator to reach more than one million new subscribers.
It is also expected to support AMN's ambition to help expand the mobile network in rural areas in sub-Saharan Africa with the deployment of 10,000 towers by 2025. In November 2022, it secured US$20 million from Finnfund and BlueOrchard Finance to fund that plan.
Isaac K. Kassouwi