Telecommunications in Southern Sudan


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Telecommunications
Telecommunication in and around the 10 southern Sudan states is of great variance.
Gone are the days that communication with the outside world was dependent on hand-delivered mail or radio communication. In pre-2005 era all the way until shortly after the signing of the CPA, the most sophisticated and common modes of communication were the Thuraya Satellite phones.
These were big hand-held devices which are still in operation up to date though have been overtaken by new inventions and mobile phones. Telecommunication companies are making a dash to this part of the country, with each hoping to get a share of the network coverage.
Gemtel whose prefix is 0477 is a Ugandan company and has the country code +256. The other cell phone network companies are Sudani from Khartoum, Zain, Vivacell and MTN. All these have the Sudan Country code +249 but with different prefixes.  Sudani‚Äôs prefix is 012, Zain is 091, Vivacell is 0955 and MTN is 092.
For internet services, the R- BGAN also known as Regional BGAN, was Inmarsat's first "always-on" Internet Protocol data service for the land-mobile market. It was launched in 2002 but was closed at the end of 2008 and has been superseded by Inmarsat's BGAN service, which offers simultaneous voice and broadband data connectivity. There have also been new inventions coming into the market like the use of satellite equipment for internet known as the Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSATs) by companies like Iway Africa and Bilpam Telecommunications. A telecommunication invention by the name Get2Net Satellite Internet has been unveiled by Bilpam Telecommunications and provides internet even in the remote areas.
Mobile Telecommunication: There are five major mobile phone networks in South Sudan. None is dominant, and most people have several phones or sim cards. Each network has different coverage when outside Juba. There is no interconnectivity between some networks and thus a call from one to another network often has to be made as an expensive international call.
However, the use of satellite phone services of Thuraya is far more extensive. It has a wider reach within the South due to satellite technology and is handy in many areas where there is no telecommunication set up.