Sudan has a relatively well-equipped telecommunications infrastructure by regional standards, including a national fibre optic backbone and international fibre connections.
Sudan 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 economy has performed poorly in recent years, partly due to the effects of having lost much of its oil reserves to South Sudan and partly due to domestic volatility and social unrest. This has hindered the ability of operators to develop revenue from services and sufficiently invest in infrastructure upgrades.
Sudatel since 2016 has invested in rural tower infrastructure to improve connectivity, though such measures remain far below what is required. The operator has launched LTE-A in Khartoum, and has announced a $267 million investment plan to 2020. It reported a 5.2% increase in revenue for H1 2017.
Competition in the fixed-line market comes from Canar Telecom, which was also majority-owned by Etisalat until Etisalat sold its 92.3% interest to the Bank of Khartoum in mid-2016. The operator opted to adopt CDMA2000 technology to cost-effectively roll out fixed services. In April 2017 the company secured spectrum in the 2.5GHz band which has enabled it to launch LTE services.