Orange's Ivory Coast Network to Be Restored Next Week After Fire

(Bloomberg) -- Orange SA said its network in Ivory Coast will be fully restored next week after a fire at a technical facility on April 30 disrupted telecommunication services across the country.

The blaze at a submarine cable station in the commercial capital, Abidjan, affected the French phone carrier’s wireless voice and data customers and fixed-line services, spokesman Fanta Sidibe said by phone on Wednesday. A police investigation found that “sabotage” was the likely cause of the incident, Sidibe said.

“The investigation showed a cable was cut and the police also found a ladder on the scene,” she said. “Service is now at 85 percent and we’re working on getting full service back.”

Orange is Ivory Coast’s biggest telecommunications operator with 13 million subscribers. Its main competitors in the West African nation are Johannesburg-based MTN Group Ltd. and a unit of Maroc Telecom.

The incident left most parts of Abidjan without a network connection, said Sidibe. The outage caused the economic free-zone operator at the coastal town of Grand-Bassam, VITIB, to postpone bidding for a solar plant, VITIB Chief Executive Officer Philippe Pango said by email. Orange is estimating damages at about 2 billion CFA francs ($3.5 million), said Sidibe.

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