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Orange Botswana consolidates its transmission network

Orange Botswana consolidates its transmission network

Botswana is a landlocked country in southern Africa bordered by Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe. The country's telecommunication operators need more bandwidth to carry modern services. They are also handicapped by the Botswana's enclavement that makes international connectivity heavily dependent on prohibitively expensive satellites of limited capacity. In this context, Sofrecom conducted a network opportunity study for the operator Orange Botswana.


In this region, as in the rest of Africa, telecommunication usage is increasing and traffic data is exploding, driven by mobile devices in particular. Operators need more bandwidth to meet rising consumer demand and to guarantee optimal quality of service.
Botswanan telcos face two major challenges: first, increase network capacity to carry modern services and satisfy heavy bandwidth users at reasonable cost, and, secondly, ensure effective network control to maintain quality of service.

For this reason, Orange Botswana had plans to roll out a new fiber-optic transmission network to extend and secure its nationwide network and to deliver an excellent end-to-end customer experience. The operator also needs to find an international interconnection, for example to be able to offer roaming services at competitive rates. But Orange Botswana faced a dilemma for its optical transmission network: make or buy? In other words, should the network upgrade exploit the existing optical fiber network owned by the national electricity utility, or would it be better to lay new optical cables along the country's railway routes?

The electricity company's network has the advantage of covering the country's main communication axes, between Francistown and the capital Gaborone on the border with South Africa, and it could easily be completed by new sections along the main rail lines. This choice would allow Orange Botswana to quickly launch broadband services with guaranteed quality of service and thereby counter competitors.

Sofrecom conducted a study for Orange Botswana, then costed a number of alternative scenarios to weigh their economic pros and cons, paying particular attention to future operating expenses (OPEX) and investments (CAPEX) in addition to technical issues.
Sofrecom's network design and architecture experts analyzed the existing infrastructures on a very tight timescale, then drew on their optical fiber experience to perform a feasibility study and propose costed solutions based on different technological hypotheses.
They drew up recommendations for Orange Botswana who was then able to present a complete proposal to its own administrators and later to the telecoms regulator. Our consultants and engineers are now ready to supervise the deployment of the selected solution.


"In just a few days Sofrecom was able to propose two variants of a technical and financial solution for creating an optical backbone using OPGW (Optical Ground Wire) cables suitable for laying along the high-tension lines of the national electrical grid and/or on land alongside railroads. The deadline for this work was very short in view of a scheduled presentation to the Executive Committee. I appreciated Sofrecom's reactivity and the quality of its report, and I am confident that one of its solutions will be implemented before the end of 2013."


Michel Levet
CTIO Orange Botswana