US lifts embargo on telecom equipment imports to Sudan
Sudan now makes up the northern part of a country which in 2011 was separated to form the new state of South Sudan. Three quarters of the former population live in the north, where mobile market penetration is far higher. The country has a relatively well-equipped telecommunications infrastructure by regional standards, including a national fibre optic backbone and international fibre connections. The chronically poor performing economy has hindered the ability of operators to improve revenue from services and sufficiently invest in infrastructure upgrades, while social unrest in South Sudan continues to impose practical difficulties for telecom operators.
The national telco, Sudatel was privatised more than a decade ago, with major shares and management control now held by Etisalat of the UAE and by Qatar Telecom. It is also listed on several regional stock exchanges. The company presided over the world’s fastest growing fixed-line market until it started substituting traditional copper lines with CDMA2000 fixed-wireless access in 2005.
Competition in the fixed-line market comes from Canartel, which is also majority-owned by Etisalat. The operator also opted for CDMA2000 technology to cost effectively roll out fixed services and, like Sudatel, offers wireless broadband services through this network, having upgraded to the EV-DO standard. The company is lobbying for a licence to offer mobile services as well but is meeting resistance from the other operators.
The market for mobile internet services is flourishing, and traffic for services such as SMS more than tripled in the year to June 2013.
Estimated market penetration rates in Sudan’s telecoms sector – end 2015 (e)
(Source: BuddeComm based on various sources)
- Sudatel announces $267 million investment plan to 2020;
- MTN launches HSPA+ services;
- RedCloud, Zain provide platform for Hassa-branded mobile financial service;
- Higher telecom taxes impact on sector growth; telecom networks separated between North and South Sudan;
- Intensified mobile broadband competition;
- Wide variation of broadband pricing and mobile ARPU;
- Rapid growth in SMS traffic;
- Canar Telecom sees a continuing decline in its fixed-line market share;
- Regulator concludes its SIM registration project;
- Upgrade to EASSy cable enabling 10Tb/s.
Companies mentioned in this report:
Zain, MTN, Sudatel, Sudani, Canar Telecom (Canartel), SudaNet, ZinaNet, Thuraya