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Orange launches operations in the DRC

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French telecommunications firm Orange has announced the launch of its operations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The company announced in a statement that Orange DRC customers join a global community of 183 million customers of the brand in 33 countries.

Since the acquisition of the DRC’s Congo Chine Telecom (CCT) in October 2011, Orange says it has spent $95 million to expand and upgrade its network in that country.

Orange officials further say that they have also deployed the country’s first 3G+ network in leading cities. This network is now operational in Kinshasa and will be switched on in Lubumbashi and Matadi in the coming days, says Orange.

In early 2013, residents of Goma, Bukavu and Mbuji-Mayi are also planned to be covered.

Moreover, Orange DRC is expected to have a chain of 22 own-branded retail outlets to propose the full range of its mobile offers, and its products and services will be widely available through 22,000 indirect points of sale.

The DRC is a largely untapped mobile market, as just 25% of the country's estimated 65 million population own a SIM card according to BuddeComm research.

Furthermore, Orange joins other telcos such as Vodacom Congo in that market.

“Our objective is to harness the power of a large group in order to benefit the Congolese population,” said Jean-Léon Bonnechère, chief executive officer of Orange DRC.

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