10 million Congolese to receive network coverage through NuRAN and Orange DRC partnership
NuRAN Wireless Inc. announced that it has entered into a Service contract with Orange DRC SA for its NAAS model which involves the construction of more than 2000 mobile telephony sites in different localities of the DRC.
A constant commitment to provide service to the populations of the DRC
The two partners estimate that the 2,000 stations will provide 2.5G connectivity to 10 million people who currently have to travel even to make a simple phone call. As needed, sites can be upgraded to deploy newer technology, including 3G or 4G.
Ben Cheick Hairada, CEO of Orange RDC said, “The Orange group is pushing strongly for digital inclusion in Africa through the project IDEAL (Include digital in every African life). We are very happy to make this project a reality here in the DRC through this partnership which aims to bring mobile phone services to more than 10 million Congolese hitherto excluded from digital.
We know that the mobile phone has become essential in everyday life and it is a tremendous lever for development because it makes it possible to open up and connect to the world, and to reach financial services. "In total, the Orange group is investing more than one billion euros in Africa and the Middle East to improve the connectivity and performance of its networks.”
Democratizing access to digital technology through innovation
In discussion about African markets Francis Letourneau, CEO of NuRAN explained these can be dynamic markets, because many people already own cell phones, so we just have to set up stations so that these people have access to the services that most people in developed countries have taken for granted.
NuRAN is partnering with several industry players to build small stations to meet latent demand, paying particular attention to rural communities of around 5,000 inhabitants. The company uses an operator-grade, solar-powered GSM base station as part of a remote station small footprint (3 meters x 3 meters x 15 meters high). Compared to a traditional macro station, which can cost up to $ 120,000 and require electricity or a diesel generator, the NuRAN station costs about one-fifth the price while still meeting 11 of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals, including the zero carbon impact.
"We are extremely pleased to enter into this agreement with Orange DRC. This contract demonstrates the large demand from Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) for this type of service and revenue model as well as improving the partnership with Orange.
Based on our estimates the 2,000 towers will provide 2.75G connectivity to up to 10 million people, or 11.5% of the DRC population, that currently have to travel just to make a phone call," said Letourneau. "The social and environmental impact as well as our commitment to sustainable development embodies NuRAN's mission and vision to connect the world, one connection at a time. This is a major turning point for NuRAN."
In October, Orange and NuRAN entered into their first NAAS contract with Orange Cameroon for the construction of up to 272 sites in Cameroon.
Terms and Conditions
The agreement with Orange DRC is subject to a number of terms and conditions. Amongst these:
Upon conclusion of the initial 40 months term of the agreement and once all sites are fully operational, gross revenue is expected to be over CAD$40 Million per year, with expected EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) of over 50% for the local operating company, which is a 100%-owned subsidiary of NuRAN formed for the purpose of the agreement with Orange DRC.
NuRAN agreed to the delivery of 2,000 turnkey sites over the initial 40 months term of the agreement and has established 4 different site categories to support multiple population densities and coverage patterns. Once fully operational, the network will have the capacity to connect close to 10 Million people.
NuRAN has also agreed to ensure that during the term of the agreement the activities of distribution and resale of mobile devices, SIM cards, recharge cards, and/or any other equipment or service necessary for subscribers to use the mobile services of the NuRAN/Orange DRC sites, will be managed by a local organisation.