Economic woes stifling infrastructure investment in Sudan – R&M

Economic woes stifling infrastructure investment in Sudan – R&M

Sudan has a relatively well-equipped telecommunications infrastructure by regional standards, including a national fibre optic backbone and international fibre connections, reports Research & Markets.

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, with hyperinflation resulting from the effects of having lost much of its oil reserves to South Sudan and to domestic volatility and social unrest. The country remains subject to United Nations Security Council (UNSC) sanctions which include (inter alia) an arms embargo, travel bans, and a freeze on certain assets.

This economic climate has made it difficult for operators to develop revenue from services and sufficiently invest in infrastructure upgrades. Nevertheless, Sudatel in 2016 began investing in rural tower infrastructure to improve connectivity (though such measures remain far below what is required) and in early 2018 it also signed deals with Nokia to upgrade mobile infrastructure and with Liquid Telecom to build out a fibre broadband network across the country.

Competition in the fixed-line market comes from Canar Telecom, which was 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 and in April 2017 it secured spectrum in the 2.5GHz band which has enabled it to launch LTE services.

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