Kuwaiti telecoms group Zain has yet to agree on the fee for a mobile licence to operate in the newly independent country of South Sudan, which seceded from the north in July 2011. Zain Sudan’s chief executive Elfatih Erwa told news agency Reuters that the company has spent USD60 million dividing its operations in two, after South Sudan acquired its own international dialling code (+211) upon gaining independence, but the cellco has not yet entered into discussions with the government on a licence fee. ‘The government of South Sudan has not engaged on the licence fee yet,’ noted Erwa, adding: ‘The government said for us not to worry. They will start discussions once they set and enhance the laws and get more experience as a regulator.’ The executive added that Zain Sudan will invest USD280 million in the improvement of its infrastructure in the north in 2012, and plans to spend between USD60 million and USD80 million in the south. ‘Our network is completely separated and we are running both the old numbers and the new numbers so that we don’t deprive our customers of being disconnected until they make a full switch,’ Erwa said. Plans to build a fibre network in the South have been delayed, Erwa noted, due to the regulator not being ready and security issues in certain areas. Zain has approximately 590,000 mobile subscribers in South Sudan, with customers and revenue in the country forecast to grow 20% and 10% respectively in 2012.