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Orange launches 'Livebox' Internet facility

Staff Writer
Mobile phone operator, Orange, on Tuesday launched Livebox, a high speed broadband internet service.

This "pioneering service" is based on the most advanced Wimax radio technology which delivers state-of-the-art high speed Internet access via radio link, with no landline connection required.

Livebox is the first service that provides for wireless and internet access from one unit, providing up to eight simultaneous connections at the same time. Speaking at the launch at Phakalane Golf Estate in Gaborone, the Chief Executive of Botswana Telecommunications Authority (BTA), Thari Pheko, said Orange's track record in the country speaks volumes.

From humble beginnings in 1998, Orange today boasts of 200 employees and hundreds of thousands of customers. In addition, Pheko said, Orange has entered into partnerships with various distributors nationwide and countless vendors, creating employment opportunities for many Batswana giving meaning to the concept of economic diversification and empowerment. "Orange does not only show its commitment to the development of telecommunications infrastructure and services in this country," Pheko said, "but also to other sectors of the economy.

"We may be familiar with Orange's slogan which says 'Life is Better when it is Open'. Indeed, the modern communications life is opening up for the better. BTA was cognizant of this fact when it issued Orange with a service and technology-neutral licence.

"Convergence of telecommunications, broadcasting and data services has given rise to a new range of services in keeping with the demands of modern life. It

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is pleasing that Orange is already responding to these demands by launching the Live-box."

Pheko said BTA would continue to rely on Orange's cooperation in addressing the challenges of the sector. One such challenge is interconnection, which is essential for competition to develop to allow subscribers of one network to communicate with those of another.  

Pheko said without interconnection, the market would essentially develop as discrete islands with each operator having a de facto monopoly, and therefore the economic benefits associated with market expansion and liberalisation would certainly be limited. 
"It is our intention as BTA to ensure an open environment which fosters competition and consumer choice. This will make Botswana find her rightful place in the global information village," he said.

The provision of universal service remains a challenge in Botswana. As an obligation for the operators, Pheko said, it might be a requirement to supply basic voice and data services as part of their social responsibility in order to bridge the digital divide between rural and urban area. 

"These are some of the challenges both operators and the BTA must confront head on for the benefit of Batswana," he said.

Pheko said he is glad that Orange is responding positively to the BTA's initiative to promote competition and innovation in the market place in order to win the ears and souls of customers.



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