South Sudanese mobile phone subscribers have been given additional time to register their SIM cards by the Ministry of Telecommunications and Postal Services (MOTPS). Voice of America quotes deputy minister for telecommunications, Beatrice Khamisa, as saying that the deadline for registration has been extended to 28 February 2013. The extension is the second in as many months; subscribers were originally given until 31 December 2012 to register their details, but this was subsequently pushed back by one month amid low compliance with the government directive. Commenting on the MOTPS’s decision to push back the deadline a second time, Khamisa said: ‘During our discussion some participants demanded that we stop extending the registration date. But we thought the telephone in South Sudan is the main source of communication. Business is done over telephone, including social interaction, especially when we don’t have land lines and post offices are not operating efficiently.’ She added that the new deadline is final, and anyone who fails to register by the end of the month will have their mobile phone service disconnected.
TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database notes that South Sudan, which gained independence from Sudan in July 2011, is home to five mobile network operators, namely: Kuwait-based Zain; MTN, owned by South Africa’s MTN Group; Sudanese operator Sudatel; Gemtel (Green Network), part-owned by Libyan African Investments Portfolio (LAP) via its telecoms arm LAP Green Networks; and Network of the World (NOW), operating under the brand Vivacell.