Orange and Vanu are deploying a network-as-a-service (NaaS) model alongside a series of technology upgrades to provide wider connectivity in rural areas across Côte d’Ivoire.
Connectivity forms the baseline in the provision of almost every kind of fintech service. Thus limited connectivity will stall the development of related services and the benefits they provide.
As one of the most prominent telecommunications operators on the African continent, Orange is seeking to broaden the reach and applicability of its services.
The operator has come together with Vanu to achieve this feat. Its partner’s solutions combine technology and business model innovations to reduce the total cost of ownership of wireless networks.
The combination of the two companies’ connectivity is expected to accelerate the development of digital projects in financial services, while also serving an important purpose in healthcare, agriculture and education; among other sectors.
The project will begin with 1,070 sites, of which 700 will be in Côte d’Ivoire. The remaining 370 sits will be dispersed across some of the hardest-to-reach areas in neighbouring Burkina Faso and Liberia; where Orange operates subsidiaries.
Burkina Faso will have 170 sites, with the remaining 200 operating in Liberia.
The NaaS model adopted by the partnership is a type of cloud service model, through which providers like Orange lease network services to customers.
This lease allows networks to be operated entirely through the internet, without having to maintain the networking infrastructure behind them.
The use of NaaS models can replace legacy network configurations, including multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) connections and virtual private networks (VPNs).
The Orange Côte d’Ivoire Group says that it recognised how its own investment model needed to be deployed differently in remote areas.
The improved model will seek to deliver a better quality of life for people living in these rural areas while reducing the impact of inequalities posed by the lack of provision of digital and financial services.
Nafy Coulibaly, the deputy director general in charge of operations in Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso and Liberia, says that the increased network coverage will ensure that “no one will be left behind.”
She explains how this will be achieved by “ensuring that we provide, to as many people as possible, free and unfettered access to digital services everywhere.”
Adding to these thoughts, Andrew Beard, CEO of Vanu, expressed his company’s pleasure in partnering with Orange, confirming that “extended connectivity will have an enormous and immediate impact on the uncovered population.”
The partnership expects to execute the project in accordance with environmental standards.
The formation of the partnership aligns with Orange’s IDEAL programme, which is aiming to extend coverage to 20 million rural inhabitants through the construction of 5000 sites within four years.