The South Sudanese government has announced the launch of a new telecoms company, Niletel, in which the state holds a 25% stake and Sudan-based business group Ashraf the remainder, reports Xinhua. Niletel says it is rolling out a 4G LTE platform to deliver reliable voice and data services across the country, as well as a range of other products including telemedicine, e-learning and Internet of Things (IoT) applications. It plans to begin offering commercial services in major cities within the next eight months, followed by smaller towns and villages, with a view to covering the whole country within five years.
The launch comes at a time when the country is battling an economic crisis and ongoing civil war, which has forced existing telecoms operators, including South Africa-based MTN Group and Kuwait’s Zain Group, to scale back their operations in some areas of the country. ‘We are launching Niletel at a time when other companies are at the verge of collapsing but we will continue to render services to the people of South Sudan because all the other companies are privately owned and we don’t have a say in those companies. But with Niletel, we are partners and will have a say to render better services to the people,’ government spokesman Michael Makuei told journalists in Juba.