iBurst eyes expansion of wireless internet service

18 Jun 2012

South Africa-based iBurst plans to expand wireless internet services beyond South Sudan’s capital Juba, under a three-year plan to provide access to the newly-independent country’s largest businesses and government institutions, Bloomberg reports. At present, iBurst has four base stations in Juba, which service the capital’s population of about 250,000, the company’s CEO Thami Mtshali said in an interview at the company’s Johannesburg headquarters. He added that by the end of the month a few base stations will be up and running in the Abyei region, while coverage will be extended to the whole nation in three years. South Sudan’s fixed line infrastructure was almost completely destroyed during the civil war, and as the country does not currently have any fibre-optic infrastructure, Mtshali said that iBurst will rely on satellite connections for its network rollout. After seceding from the north in July 2011, South Sudan began drawing up its own independent regulations for the country’s telecoms markets and is reportedly working on the establishment of a commission to regulate the sector. The north’s main mobile operators, Kuwait-based Zain, South Africa’s MTN and local firm Sudatel have been dividing their operations into two units since the south gained its own international dialling code, but have yet to agree a licence fee with the government.

South Sudan, Rain (Multisource/WBS)