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Orange, a platinum member of the Smart Africa Alliance, announced its support for the One Africa Network (OAN) project. The project aims to reduce the cost of communication and keep the traffic generated and destined for Africa within Africa.

Orange says they operationalising their support by localising voice and roaming data hosting and transport on the continent. This will be done through the creation of two new international voice points of presence (PoP) in Lagos, Nigeria, and hosting of roaming data for Orange's African customers at a data clearing house in Africa.

Lacina Koné, DG and CEO Smart Africa says “We value Orange’s commitment to strengthen Africa’s capacity to manage and retain her own data. This is important for ensuring universal access through cost savings and data sovereignty which is a hallmark of our data policy. Therefore, this partnership with Orange goes a long way in operationalising these principles and making the One Africa Network a reality.”

Keep intra-African traffic in Africa

Orange says in order to enable direct connections between African countries, they are working to:

•      facilitate voice traffic connections between regions in Africa, with the creation of two new Voice Tier-1 Points of Presence (PoP). Through these PoP, Orange offers a diverse range of services to all African mobile operators, allowing the routing of traffic across Africa.

      expand internet data network coverage thanks to an ambitious IP and IPX Tier-1 Points of Presence (PoP) deployment plan in Africa. Orange has announced the creation of a new IP PoP in Accra, Ghana (end of September 2020). These PoP ensure a local connection to African and international content for its customers, as well as the exchange of roaming data.

These new PoP, combined with the IP points of presence, and all points of presence which Orange operates through its 17 subsidiaries, will allow the company to host and route all voice traffic in Africa between connected operators.

Alioune Ndiaye, CEO Orange Middle-East and Africa says these initiatives contribute to the Smart Africa objectives and demonstrate Orange’s willingness and investment to facilitate and expand the use of roaming and international voice services in Africa. “We are working hard to promote the emergence of a dynamic digital society, a key driver of African development. From this year, Orange will endeavour to keep African traffic in Africa.”

A Data Clearing House to host roaming data in Africa

Orange has several interconnected data centres in an open, seamless network to host data locally in Africa. The company notes that since 2015, they have established a Roaming Operational Centre in Abidjan, a global centre of expertise which supervises testing and new roaming routes, either directly with its regional and global partners, or via its Roaming Hub,  to which over 100 operators connected.

Orange says that to supplement this approach, from 1 January 2021, Orange customer roaming traffic between operators in Africa will be hosted by a data clearing house located in a data centre in Africa.

Jérome Barré, CEO Orange Wholesale and International Networks says with the creation of new voice points of presence and a data clearing house for roaming traffic in Africa, they are demonstrating their ability to provide a local solution to African operators for all voice, data and roaming services. “Orange’s ambition is to keep all traffic and flows in Africa, in order to contribute to the development of the continent’s digital economy,”he says.

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