South Sudan - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Market Insights, Statistics and Forecasts
Kenya and South Sudan signed agreement for new cross-border fibre linkThis report provides a comprehensive overview of trends and developments in South Sudan's emerging telecommunications market and the business environment for investors.
Subjects covered include:
Market and industry overviews;
Government policies affecting the telecoms industry;
Market liberalisation and regulatory issues;
Business environment, investment incentives and protection;
Telecoms operators licensing, privatisation, acquisitions;
Major players (fixed, mobile and broadband);
Infrastructure development, including fibre;
Mobile voice and data markets, including 3G and 4G mobile broadband;
Average Revenue per User (ARPU);
Internet and broadband development and growth;
Convergence (voice/data, fixed/wireless/mobile);
Following a referendum, oil-rich South Sudan seceded from Sudan and became the world's youngest independent nation in 2011. Having been deprived of development for decades, it has one of the least developed telecommunications and internet markets in the world. Although this potentially can create investment opportunities for infrastructure and service providers, such developments largely depend on a negotiate end to the civil war which erupted in December 2013, and which has caused considerable mayhem and bloodshed, particularly in the oil-producing areas. While the struggle continues into 2014, and many international workers have sought sanctuary in UN bases across the country, investors in all economic sectors have been discouraged though there is activity among existing mobile network operators seeking to expand their networks in some areas of the country.
At only around 20% penetration, one of the lowest in Africa, South Sudan's mobile market has many years of strong growth ahead of it. The virtually untapped internet and broadband market will kick off once the country gains access to international fibre optic cables and a national backbone network is put in place. Sophisticated infrastructure solutions are needed to reach the 80% of the population that live outside of the main urban centres. With a negligible rate of bank account ownership, mobile payment and banking solutions are set to dominate the country's financial services sector as well.
The limits to growth are currently defined by widespread poverty and a low literacy rate, but the government recognises the positive feedback loop on development that access to information and communication technologies (ICT) can have and is providing a range of investment incentives. The international community has provided US$4 billion in aid to strengthen governance and institutions in the young nation.
MTN extends One Network Area arrangement to South Sudan, removing international roaming charges for calls between Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and South Sudan; Kenya and South Sudan begin work on new World Bank-funded terrestrial fibre cable; government forms national committee to speed up designing and building the national backbone, considers setting up the National Communications Authority (NCA) to oversee the telecoms sector; regulator sets up regional telecom framework to devise the One-Network-Area, ending mobile roaming charges among Northern Corridor countries; mobile market growth potential one of the biggest in Africa; international fibre connections expected in 2015; mobile banking solutions set to revolutionise the largely cash-based economy; investment incentives in the ICT sector.
Estimated market penetration rates in South Sudan's telecoms sector end 2014
Market | Penetration rate
Mobile | 29%
Fixed | 0%
(Source: BuddeComm based on various sources)
Companies covered in this report:
Zain, Vivacell (Network of the World; NOW); MTN; Gemtel Green Network (G Telecom; LAP Green); Sudatel; Sudani; Canar Telecom (Canartel, Etisalat); fastNet; RCS Communication; iBurst; Thuraya; Yahsat; O3b Networks; Fujairah Media Group (FMG); Equity Bank.