South Sudan-owned telecom company begins operations

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South Sudan President Salva Kiir has launched the first-ever local mobile operator in the county’s capital Juba.

Digitel Network, the third mobile operator in South Sudan, aims to fast-track connectivity in areas previously not connected.

In his remarks during the launch on Monday, President Kiir said his government is committed to bringing mobile services to people in remote areas.

“The installation of mobile service infrastructure is an ongoing process. Recently people in Maper, Rumbek North county and Pochalla in the Greater Pibor administrative area have been connected to mobile network.

“I have been informed that in three weeks’ time, Boma in the Greater Pibor administrative area and Kuron Peace Village in Kapoeta East county will also be connected to the mobile network,” said Kiir.

Kiir added that the development came as a result of direct government intervention with support from the private sector which complements the government efforts in the telecommunication sector.

“To demonstrate seriousness in the desire to connect rural communities to mobile networks, the government will explore options, including tax exemption that will benefit importation of network equipment and other telecommunications tools.

“This equipment will help increase digital literacy programs to the next generation for Information and communication technology, ICT driven economy.

“ The tax exemption I am proposing will be done in collaboration with the national revenue authority to ensure modalities for tax exemption are consistent with its mandate,” Kiir said.

Before Digitel joined the market, MTN and Zain were the only mobile telecom companies operating following the closure of Lebanese Company – Vivacell by the government in 2016 due to alleged unpaid arrears.

Ten years down from independence after 21 years of brutal civil war with Sudan, South Sudan was left with no or poor infrastructural development. Specifically, technological development was as well left at a standstill, according to observers.

Last year, Tufts University ranked Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania leading countries in digital growth and development in East African.

Meanwhile, South Sudan got its first-ever connection to the region and the world in 2019 when three fiber optic companies established offices in Juba – an event that made citizens joyous, particularly those within the capital Juba where most services are based.

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