Orange has stated that its Botswana subsidiary is the first in Africa to offer 5G services. Orange Botswana launched 5G on November 11, 2022, with coverage in greater Gaborone and Francistown, providing service to 30% of the population. Other Botswanan cities will follow in early 2023, according to Orange.
According to Orange, the 5G network will enable new health, education, and security services, as well as connected vehicles, connected cities, real-time gaming, smart homes, and learning through VR and augmented reality.
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In a statement, The company announced that the launch of the new 5G Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) and mobile data bundles is targeted at home consumers and small and medium enterprises. According to the company, FWA starts at 15 megabits per second (Mbps) for prepaid plans and 20 Mbps for postpaid plans, with monthly costs starting at BWP 699 (US$53.80), or around 10% of the average Botswanan’s monthly salary.
MRI Botswana and Orange Botswana have partnered to develop the “Connected Ambulance” telemedicine project, which will employ the 5G network’s capabilities to let doctors instruct paramedics on life-saving techniques while traveling to hospitals.
In a statement on the launch, Orange Botswana CEO Nene Maiga said, “At Orange Botswana, we are pleased to be bringing in a new technology that will allow economic players to experience new possibilities allowed by 5G and the way it could positively impact their daily activities. For companies and the government keen to advance their operations, the 5G connection represents a tremendous opportunity. Customers’ experiences with connectivity will change as a result.
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The company’s CEO Jerome Henique noted that the establishment of a 5G commercial network in Botswana is a stepping stone to launching in other African countries.
Orange’s communications reach in the continent was primarily through 4G services. Orange Botswana is the public premiere of Orange’s 5G service deployment in Africa, while the company has already begun testing the waters there and elsewhere. Orange announced the opening of a 5G lab in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, in September. The lab is organizing 5G demonstrations to test 5G apps and services for regional business leaders and others.