Amidst concerns that the new coronavirus (COVID-19) could affect telecommunications companies and disrupt mobile and internet services, the Management of Orange Liberia has announced additional measures to ensure that its network and services remain uninterrupted during the current coronavirus outbreak which is affecting much of the world. This comes in the wake of consensus from global experts that the viability and stability of telecommunications networks is essential in the ongoing fight against the COVID-19.
Chief Executive Officer Mr. Mamadou Coulibaly acknowledged that the rapid spread of the coronavirus has led the Orange Liberia team to put in place a multipronged approach that would enable the company to protect its staff and customers, support government’s ongoing efforts and at the same time continue to provide uninterrupted quality and affordable services to customers across the country. Said Mr. Coulibaly: “we are a socially and ethically responsible company. It is our duty to do whatever we can to ensure the continuation of telecommunications services, while also taking measures to protect our staff and customers who need service.” He stated that the measures would ensure the continuation of all of Orange Liberia’s products and services availability including voice, SMS, data communications, SIM cards, scratch cards and Orange Money services.
As part of its measures, Orange Liberia has deployed hand washing stations and digital temperature readers at all its stores and ensures surfaces were being frequently sanitized. Mr. Coulibaly says that ‘social distancing’ protocols are also being implemented, both in shops and offices: “We are drastically reducing the number of people who can enter a store at any one time and controlling that customers can queue in good conditions, with chairs and shade, with the necessary distance.” Mr. Coulibaly nevertheless encouraged customers to use the digital channels such as My Orange mobile application, and Orange Money to manage their services or check their balance. If customers need to contact the company, they are also encouraged to send a message to Orange Liberia by Facebook Messenger (@orangelib) as the staff at the Call Center has been reduced and that calls might take longer to be answered.
Mr Zaza Mulbah, head of Orange Money, also encouraged customers to use Orange Money for transactions because of the ease, convenience and security. Mr. Mulbah stated: “by using Orange Money, our customers are able to purchase goods, voice or data bundles, or pay their bills without having to use cash or even having to leave their homes and go into potentially crowded spaces.” Mr. Mulbah added that in order to facilitate the usage of Orange Money, the company has decided to waive all fees on money transfer, merchant payment and bank to wallet (push pull) for 30 days, which might be prolonged if needed.
The management of Orange also revealed that internally, the company is working on reducing its work staff to the most essential staff, adding that employees would continue to be paid even if they would be sent home as being non-essential staff. Essential staff who are coming to work will follow the same safety measures as customers and will also practice safe social distancing. “We are monitoring the prevailing situation and will continue to adjust our response as necessary, but no matter what, our goal will be to ensure uninterrupted quality service,” Mr. Coulibaly concluded.
Orange Liberia is also supporting the national coronavirus response through donations of buckets, hundreds of phones, modems, voice/data credits, free WiFi and daily SMS broadcast of COVID-19 health updates through the Ministry of Health (MOH), and the national Public Health institute of Liberia (NPHIL). The company is also using its social media page on Facebook to spread information and tips on how to prevent and fight COVID-19.
Orange is one of the world’s leading telecommunications operators with sales of 42 billion euros in 2019 and 147,000 employees worldwide at 31 December 2019, including 87,000 employees in France. The Group has a total customer base of 266 million customers worldwide at 31 December 2019, including 207 million mobile customers and 21million fixed broadband customers. The Group is present in 26 countries. Orange is also a leading provider of global IT and telecommunication services to multinational companies, under the brand Orange Business Services. In December 2019, the Group presented its new “Engage 2025” strategic plan, which, guided by social and environmental accountability, aims to reinvent its operator model. While accelerating in growth areas and placing data and AI at the heart of its innovation model, the Group will be an attractive and responsible employer, adapted to emerging professions.
Orange is listed on Euronext Paris (symbol ORA) and on the New York Stock Exchange (symbol ORAN).
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