alexa Telecom firm MTN to expand South Sudan coverage - Daily Nation

Telecom firm MTN to expand South Sudan coverage

Monday April 30 2018

MTN  South Sudan

A general view of South Africa's MTN Group headquarters in Johannesburg on May 27, 2008. The firm wants to expand its reach in South Sudan. PHOTO | MIKE HUTCHINGS | AFP 

JOSEPH ODUHA
By JOSEPH ODUHA
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JUBA
South African telecom operator MTN has promised to expand its operations in South Sudan to tap into the rising demand for mobile services.

Mr Khumbulani Dhlomo, MTN's head of corporate services in Juba, however admitted that the operator is grappling with numerous challenges emanating from the drawn-out civil war.

Mr Dhlomo on Monday said the challenges include the economic downturn and insecurity to connect the entire country.

The shutdown of telecom company Vivacell has also presented a huge burden to MTN in enhancing its capacity to cater for more than one million subscribers.

"There is a bit of too much demand for everything that we have not planned for.

"The most affected people are our customers because they seem not to be able to get what they want at the time they want," Mr Dhlomo said in Juba.

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He disclosed that MTN's major projects such as building of about 40 towers countrywide were halted due to the conflict.

Further, Mr Dhlomo said the company has made no profit since 2012, despite spending $170 million (Sh17 billion) on the South Sudan network infrastructure between 2014 and 2015.

MTN is the second largest mobile operator in South Sudan after Vivacell, with over 800,000 subscribers.

The subscribers might increase after Vivacell was closed down in March over a tax dispute with the government.

South Sudan attained its independence from Sudan in 2011 but descended into civil war in 2013.

The country’s economic mainstay, oil, suffered doubled tragedy from the impact of the strife and the collapse of global prices.