South Africa’s MTN to expand operations in South Sudan despite security challenges

MTN South Sudan coverage (File photo)

MTN South Sudan coverage (File photo)

May 1st 2018 (Nyamilepedia) – South African’s telecom operator, the MTN, said it is expanding its operations across remote villages across South Sudan to tap into the rising demand for the mobile service despite undermining factors which he said included the economic situation of the young African country.

“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,” the head of the corporate services of the South African mobile company in Juba Dr Khumbulani Dhlomo said.

However, Dr Dhlomo, admitted that the operator is facing setbacks as results of undermining factors and challenges emanating from the ongoing civil war between the government of President Salva Kiir and SPLM-IO under the leadership of the country’s former First Vice President Riek Machar Teny as well as the economic downturn and insecurity to connect the entire country.

He revealed that major MTN projects such as a proposed building of 40 towers across South Sudan were halted and disrupted by the ongoing civil war but said despite these challenges the South African network will continue to exert much efforts.

“Our ability to quickly expand the network is going to be a challenge to us, but we will remain put and improve our services,” he said.

South Africa’s MTN has around 800,000 subscribers and is the second largest mobile operator in South Sudan until the government closure of Lebanon’s Vivacell last month. The Vivacell closure of the Vivacell mobile network has also presented a huge burden to MTN to enhance its capacity to cater for over a million subscribers as Vivacell subscribers seek safer haven with the MTN.

In March, the government closed down the Vivacell mobile network over tax dispute with the government and this could lead to the increase of MTN subscribers.

Between 2014 and 2015, the MTN spent $170 million on South Sudan network infrastructure but according to internal record, the mobile giant has never made any profit since 2012.