The launch of a new operator in any country is newsworthy but the launch of South Sudan’s Digitel Telecommunications has been noted by the country’s leader, not too surprisingly perhaps as this is the first-ever South Sudanese-owned mobile telecom company.
The hope expressed by Kiir was that the arrival of the new operator would fast-track connectivity of areas previously not served by foreign-owned telecom companies. He also noted that his government had played a role in ensuring that Digitel operates in the country.
Remote areas like Maper in Rumbek North County of Lakes State and Pochala in Greater Pibor Administrative Area are now connected to the mobile phone network. Other remote areas like Boma in Greater Pibor Administrative Area and Kuron Peace Village in Kapoeta East are expected to follow soon.
The government has suggested that it will explore a number of options, including tax exemption, that may encourage the importation of network equipment and telecommunication tools, a policy that, it is hoped, will help to boost digital literacy programmes.
Digitel joins South African-owned mobile giant MTN and Kuwait-headquartered international operator Zain Telecom in the South Sudan market. The country has a population of just over 11 million.