We peel back the layers of Orange Sierra Leone, as it builds on the strong sub-Saharan presence of one of the world’s leading telecommunications operators
Writer: Jack Salter | Project Manager: Josh Hyland
Sierra Leone has significant potential for growth in mobile services.
Home to almost eight million people, Sierra Leone has a considerable mobile penetration rate of around 50 percent of the population.
Driving an unrivalled customer experience in the West African nation is Orange Sierra Leone (Orange SL).
Orange is one of the world’s leading telecommunications operators, present in 26 countries with 253 million customers worldwide given the keys to a responsible digital world.
Launched in October 2017, Orange SL has a total of 50 million customers across 16 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, strengthening the Orange brand’s strategic position on the continent.
The launch of Orange SL followed the acquisition and rebranding of Airtel Sierra Leone, then the country’s leading mobile operator with over 1.3 million customers at the time.
As a result of the rebrand, Orange SL ranks as one of the world’s most powerful brands, and benefits from being aligned with a large international group. Indeed, as part of Orange, the company gains access to the group’s expertise, technical know-how, and an extensive product and service portfolio.
Within just over a year of the acquisition, US $33 million had already been invested into Orange SL, which earlier disclosed a modernisation and expansion plan to enhance the reliability, coverage and quality of its network, voice and data services.
A global operator on a local scale, Orange is committed to improving the quality and availability of its services by venturing into untapped and underserved geographical areas, offering Sierra Leoneans the innovations that the group is delivering elsewhere.
Orange SL also relieves companies from their communication burdens, and gives them ample time to focus on their core business. Orange Business Services is a dedicated department that provides global IT and telecommunications services, that support both local and multinational companies, local government bodies, and public sector organisations in every aspect of their communications.
Today, Orange SL is the nation’s leading telco, and with significant investments made to extend the Orange group’s 3G network, full 3G coverage is now offered by the company in Sierra Leone. The network offers strong coverage in the capital, Freetown, and other major towns in Sierra Leone, as well as providing internet access to customers living outside of urban strongholds; thus, Orange SL is proud to be the only mobile operator that is present in almost every village, town or city in the country.
The construction of a new data centre in Bo, meanwhile, is the first such facility to be built in the city, as Orange SL leads the way to provide quality data and network services to be enjoyed by the people of Bo.
Orange SL has also progressively deployed 4G, allowing customers to experience better streaming, faster downloads, quicker browsing, as well as greater capacity to send and receive big files.
As part of Orange SL’s promise to bring the best connectivity to Sierra Leone, the company has gone one step further with the launch of 4G+. At 10 times faster than the speed of 4G, customers can experience even quicker browsing, streaming and downloading speeds like never before.
Secure mobile banking
With 5G now on the horizon, investments planned in the coming years will enable Sierra Leonean customers to take advantage of the group’s expertise and momentum in terms of innovation and the development of the digital ecosystem.
As well as the imminence of 5G coverage in Sierra Leone, further mobile money projects and investments are planned by Orange SL.
Orange Money is the company’s innovative, mobile phone-based payment system that allows users to carry out simple banking operations and transactions in total security, and does not require a bank account. Customers can deposit into and withdraw from an Orange Money account, transfer money from person to person in Sierra Leone, buy Orange airtime for voice calls and data bundles for internet browsing, pay for goods and services from utility companies and service providers, and perform mobile banking transactions.
The payment system was developed by Orange and conforms to worldwide security standards and protocols. It has undergone thorough risk analysis and audits by external parties, to ensure that Orange Money security meets international mobile banking norms.
Built-in protections include a strict policy on anti-money laundering, Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures and transaction monitoring, PIN-protected transactions, and in the event that a phone is lost or stolen, money can only be recovered upon replacement of the SIM card which requires the physical presence of the owners and proof of identification.
Orange Money is developed in partnership with commercial banks in Sierra Leone, who work with Orange to ensure adherence to controls, the security of transactions, and compliance with Bank of Sierra Leone regulations.
Loans can also be accessed via Orange Money accounts. Orange Money Lajor is a small loan service that allowed fully KYCed and active Orange Money users to be able to access loans using a mobile phone. The loan is available 24 hours a day, as long as loanees have qualified to take it.
Bridging the divide
The launch of the Orange brand in Sierra Leone confirms the group’s confidence in the country’s ongoing economic recovery, and its wider commitment to bringing the benefits of new digital services and creating value for all the regions it serves.
Orange SL promises to meet the emerging needs of customers with innovative, affordable and relevant solutions that will empower consumers, give them the freedom to do as they choose, and provide them with the digital tools to meet life’s daily challenges.
Digital technology is Orange’s core business, to give everyone the means to communicate, support business growth and innovation, make it easier for customers to access mobile finance, and protect their digital life, while bringing them information, education, culture and entertainment.
Orange SL also remains committed to taking the group’s network and services deeper into the country, right up to the doorsteps of each and every Sierra Leonean, with the aim of bridging the domestic digital divide.
Indeed, as a committed operator, Orange contributes to the objectives of sustainable development, and is making digital equality a priority by improving population connectivity and sharing essential digital knowledge. Orange is making sure its digital services are useful and accessible to everyone, whilst doing everything it can to be an attractive and responsible employer.
Orange SL has also broken ground on the construction of an early childhood pre-school in Lokomasama. The proposed pre-school is a multipurpose facility, just like any other early childhood education centre in Freetown, in a bid to create the literacy foundation of kids in the community.
With the support of the Orange group, Orange SL can truly deliver on these commitments; in doing so, the company will continue to win the hearts and minds of customers in Sierra Leone, and Orange will emerge as one of the most admired brands in the country.