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Sudan: Sudan Communication Profile



Sudan presently makes up the northern part of a country which in 2011 was separated to form the new national of South Sudan. Three quarters of the former people live in the north, where mobile market penetration is far higher. The country has a relatively well-equipped telecommunications infrastructure by regional standards, inclunding a national fibre optic backbone and international fibre connections. The chronically poor performing economy has hindered the ability of operators to improve revenue from services and sufficiently invest in infrastructure upgrades, while social unrest in South Sudan continues to impose practical difficulties for telecom operators.

The national telco, Sudatel was privatised additional than a decade ago, with major shares and management control presently held by Etisalat of the UAE and by Qatar Telecom. It is as well listed on several regional stock exchanges. The company presided over the world’s fastest growing fixed-line market until it started substituting traditional copper lines with CDMA2000 fixed-wireless access in 2005.

Competition in the fixed-line market comes from Canartel, which is as well majority-owned by Etisalat. The operator as well opted for CDMA2000 technology to cost entirely roll out fixed services and, like Sudatel, offers wireless broadband services through this network, having upgraded to the EV-DO standard. The company is lobbying for a licence to offer mobile services as well but is conference resistance from the other operators.

The market for mobile internet services is flourishing, and traffic for services such as SMS additional than tripled in the year to June 2013.

Market highlights:

  • Higher telecom taxes impact on sector increase; telecom networks separated between North and South Sudan; intensified mobile broadband competition; wide variation of broadband pricing and mobile ARPU; rapid increase in SMS traffic; Canar Telecom sees a continuing decline in its fixed-line market share; regulator concludes its SIM registration project; upgrade to EASSy cable enabling 10Tb/s.

Estimated market penetration rates in Sudan’s telecoms sector –

Market Penetration rate
Mobile 79%
Fixed 1%
Internet 24%

(Source: BuddeComm based on various sources)

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