Under the terms of the agreement, which involves more than 2,000 sites in Côte d'Ivoire and Cameroon, the towers will remain the property of the Orange subsidiaries. IHS will operate the towers for Orange for a term of 15 years and bring specialist knowledge and skills to improve the customer experience whilst reducing Orange's cost base. IHS' focus on the passive infrastructure will enable and accelerate further network modernisation, particularly in the areas of efficient grid and diesel utilisation and the growing use of renewable energy to power the network.
Through IHS' tower sharing model, available space on these towers will be marketed to other mobile operators whilst Orange subsidiaries will benefit from access to available slots on towers that IHS currently owns in both countries. To further expand the network and meet local demand, IHS has committed to building new hybrid solar and generator power sites, thereby cutting diesel consumption at these sites by up to 70 percent. Solar-only sites are favoured in rural areas with low consumption where delivering diesel is more expensive.
Marc Rennard, Executive Director in charge of Africa, Middle East and Asia for the Orange Group, said: "Sharing passive infrastructure is a compelling opportunity for Orange to offer a better service to its customers in Africa and the Middle East through improved network coverage and reliability. It also allows us to drive efficiencies, reduce costs and manage the particular conditions in emerging markets such as the cost of energy and accessibility of sites. This agreement leaves open the possibility for Orange subsidiaries elsewhere in Africa and the Middle East to look into similar partnerships."
"Placing tower infrastructure in the hands of mobile tower specialists benefits consumers, businesses and local economies, as well as the operators themselves," said Issam Darwish, CEO and Founder of IHS. "Our 12 years' experience in the market, coupled with strong relationships with mobile network operators and equipment suppliers, allows us to bring improvements right across the value chain. Through innovation and our engineering experience we are also able to bring environmental benefits to Côte d'Ivoire and Cameroon through a more efficient energy mix using solar power and the most up-to-date generator equipment.
France Telecom-Orange is one of the world's leading telecommunications operators with annual sales of 43.5 billion euros and has 170,000 employees worldwide at 31 December 2012, including 105,000 employees in France. Present in 32 countries, the Group has a total customer base close to 231 million customers at 31 December 2012, including 172 million mobile customers and 15 million broadband internet (ADSL, fibre) customers worldwide. Orange is one of the main European operators for mobile and broadband internet services and, under the brand Orange Business Services, is one of the world leaders in providing telecommunication services to multinational companies.
With its industrial project, "conquests2015", Orange is simultaneously addressing its employees, customers and shareholders, as well as the society in which the company operates, through a concrete set of action plans. These commitments are expressed through a new vision of human resources for employees; through the deployment of a network infrastructure upon which the Group will build its future growth; through the Group's ambition to offer a superior customer experience thanks in particular to improved quality of service; and through the acceleration of international development.
France Telecom (NYSE:FTE) is listed on NYSE Euronext Paris (compartment A) and on the New York Stock Exchange. For more information (on the internet and on your mobile): www.orange.com, www.orange-business.com, www.orange-innovation.tv or to follow us on Twitter: @presseorange. Orange and any other Orange product or service names included in this material are trade marks of Orange Brand Services Limited, Orange France or France Telecom.