Orange Liberia (formerly Cellcom) switched on LTE mobile services in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County on 13 March 2018, marking the eleventh city to receive 4G coverage since the network went live in Monrovia in May 2017. In a launch ceremony, CEO Mamadou Coulibaly said that the Buchanan launch forms part of parent Orange Group’s long term strategy to implement what he termed ‘an unprecedented network expansion across rural Liberia despite infrastructural challenges’. The French group has invested more than USD40 million in the country since 2016, referring to it as ‘the largest investment in the Liberian telecommunications sector in recent times’. The network expansion focuses heavily on expanding service coverage to rural Liberia where access to telecoms has been poor or absent.
According to Mr Coulibaly, the operator’s network sites have increased by 43% since Orange Group acquired Cellcom in April 2016, whilst its LTE signal now reaches areas including Gbarnga, Kakata, Cuttington, Buchanan, Ganta, Voinjama, Foya, Harper, Zwedru and Yekepa. The CEO added that over the next three years, the parent plans to build out a further 100 mobile sites across the country. ‘We are doing this because we … have a vision that the innovative programmes and services we are rolling out including mobile money will have a significant impact on jumpstarting certain parts of the economy.’
As previously reported by CommsUpdate, in December 2017 Orange Liberia revealed plans to invest up to USD15 million in its networks and services in 2018, with the money targeted toward improving digital inclusion by deploying new cell sites capable of serving even the most remote regions of the country. At the time Mamadou Coulibaly said his company was striving to raise the country’s profile as a leading light in telecoms in the West Africa region.