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Orange signs $395m network-as-a-service deal for DRC

Francis Létourneau NuRAN.jpg

Canadian company NuRAN has signed a contract with Orange to build a network for it and other operators in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Under the deal, Québec-based NuRAN will build 2,000 new solar-powered towers over the next 40 months throughout DRC, serving up to 10 million people.

Francis Létourneau (pictured), CEO of NuRAN, said: “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.”

NuRAN put the value of the contract at up to C$500 million (US$395 million) and the company confirmed it will be “partnering with Orange DRC and various multi-network operators” in a network-as-a-service (NaaS) arrangement.

The contract will run for a minimum term of 10 years for each site, including networking equipment as well as antennas, cabling, solar power systems, towers and related installation services. The agreement features a revenue sharing structure including a minimum guaranteed monthly fee per site built for the first five years.

The contract covers a service that will at first deliver 2.75G services. Létourneau said: “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.”

However, during the term of the contract, Orange DRC may request a site upgrade in order to deploy internet services requiring a capacity greater than that offered by 2.5G — to 3G, 3.5G or 4G.

NuRAN said that after the initial 40-month term, and once all sites are fully operational, it expects gross revenue to be over C$40 million (US$32 million) a year. NuRAN’s local operating subsidiary will earn Ebitda of over 50%, said the company.

Ben Cheick Haidara, chairman and CEO of Orange DRC, said: “We are impressed with the technology and scalability that NuRAN brings to efficiently reach remote locations reliably, a key to sustaining GDP growth.” Félix Tshisekedi, president of DRC, welcomed the deal.

 

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