Home | News    Sunday 15 February 2009

New mobile operator launched in South Sudan

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By John Agou Wuoi

February 14, 2009 (JUBA) — A Lebanon-based Fattouch Investment Group has officially launched a new GSM mobile network in southern Sudan called Vivacell.

Speaking at a function to officially launch the network in Southern Sudan on Saturday in Juba, the Chairman of Vivacell mobile network, Pierre Fattouch said the new network will usher in a new era of telecommunications in Southern Sudan.

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Chairman of Vivacell mobile network, Pierre Fattouch (Photo by John Agou)

“Vivacell will augur a new era in Southern Sudan through the provision of the best services at the best rates and through the implementation of the state of the art network”, he said.

Fattouch said the new network can be accessed in Juba, Torit, Bor and yei, adding that the company is already working on an expansion program that will ensure the network covers the whole of Southern Sudan. “Vivacell coverage will expand to cover all the populated areas of Southern Sudan and should expand to cover all Sudanese territory like all other operators in Sudan to ensure fair competition”, he added. Vivacell current network capacity can host up to 1 million subscribers.

He said the mobile network will create more than 5 thousand job opportunities as well as providing extensive training programs for Southern Sudanese in order to strengthen human resources development in the region. “Vivacell will contribute effectively to the development of the local human resources through training and transfer of knowledge and expertise. We will build a Sudanese company based on Sudanese manpower and expertise providing to Sudanese customers the services they are looking for”, he emphasized.

The Acting Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services in the Government of Southern Sudan, Gabriel Changson who officially launched Vivacell network said the launch of Vivacell network is demonstrates government’s commitment to promote foreign investments in Southern Sudan.

He said the government is committed to support the growth of telecommunications sector in Southern Sudan. “The Government of Southern Sudan is committed to create conducive investment environment for foreign companies to invest in Southern Sudan and we are taking this opportunity to call on investors to partner with us (GOSS) to promote development and infrastructural growth in Southern Sudan”.

Changson, who is also the GOSS Minister of Information and Broadcasting, added that the Ministry of Telecommunications is regulating the allocation of network frequencies in order to avoid rampant network interruptions that are associated with many mobile networks in Sudan. He also called on the mobile networks in Southern Sudan to improve their services to meet the expectations of their networks users.

He said Southern Sudan will soon obtain its own international dialing code in order to route international calls inside and outside Sudan. Currently, Southern Sudan-based Gemtel mobile network is using Uganda’s international dialing code (+256) to route most calls. Vivacell is using Sudan’s international dialing code (+249) to route its calls.

Vivacell is one of four GSM mobile network operators licensed to operate in Southern Sudan but is the first to be headquartered inside Southern Sudan. Vivacell is the first investment to be put up in Southern Sudan by the Fattouch Investment Group. During the first half of 2009, Vivacell aims to extend its coverage footprint to all of the 10 States.

Last April, Zain launched a GSM network in Southern Sudan, having deployed 50 base stations in the main urban areas. The company plans to spend US$150 million over the next few years on its network, which is predominantly covering the northern Sudan.

(ST)

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  • 15 February 2009 06:27, by Benywut

    Sounded like something to celebrate eh, well, this was an old dream, but millions of Southerners are sick with some of these unscrupulous mobile phone networks.for instance,Zain and Sudani be precise take advantage of absence of competence government telecommunication institutions or expertise and switch off and on the network when they feel like. in Towns like Aweil, It had so far become “business brotherhood” if you like. One network signal the other and has to disappeared for a week or two, three so that the other cousin’s network could owed desperate customers to make as much profit as possible. There is no competition and the government of the State is putting a blind eye on this.
    The GOSS Ministry of Telecommunication, Ministry of information and other states are not any better. All Mobile network in Southern could not reach out side town skirt if one is 30-40 Km away from Town then one have to resort to outdated type of communication. Where is the peace dividends to the very people we liberated who cannot afford to live in Town?
    No wonder why all Boreholes technicians, health workers, teachers, County and Payam authorities prefer to be in Cities and Some Commissioners and prefer to have their County headquarter seat in the States and States wanted to maintain their Government seats in Capital city. Then you start blaming the returnees, common masses of deserting villages yet they are left with no functioning PHCC, PHCU, schools, no clean water, no security, no roads connecting Counties and no means of communication.
    Please GOSS and States, let make use of these telecommunication networks and enter into constructive agreement with them. Apart from provision of quality network services, creation of jobs that Southerners deserved, they have to participate in reconstruction and development of Southern Sudan as well by expanding services to rural areas, participate in improvement of feeder roads, trainings, provision of internet services, income generation activities support to money transfer system just to mention a few. Please pay a visit to your Neighboring Countries and inquired what other services is the network provider had to provide and how network services and rating are monitored before you liecence anynetwork or other investor “He who asked is not a fool” Foreing investors and their grantors should focus on short and long term impact of services to rural population most.

    May God Bless Southern Sudan

    The writer is a Southern Sudanese living & working in the South and could be reached through anyuang@gmail.com

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  • 15 February 2009 14:02, by Alfred Sokiri

    Dear fellow south Sudanese,GoSS officials

    This is really a serious mistake to give such a huge investment license (GMS Mobile) to a Lebanese businessman to operate in southern Sudan. Lebanese businessmen ( vultures), will slowly but surely, milk southern Sudan to the blood. See what is going on in Ivory cost, sierra Leon, Burkina Faso, Togo, Senegal name them… They controlled the economy and the governments of these countries and they could change these governments as they like. Many young girls have been taken from west Africa to Lebanon as house girls and subsequently end up as slaves’ sex workers. I am appealing to our government of south Sudan to open eyes on these vultures (so called Lebanese businessmen). Do you know that west Africa is the source of Lebanese development, and they are moving towards East Africa…Watch-out.

    Guys, I am saying this out of my personal long experiences and observation on the Lebanese social behaviors. In short, Lebanese are highly materialistic oriented mind-set people. The value and dignity of a black human being is not existing in Lebanese society...

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    • 15 February 2009 15:22, by amazed

      If Southern Sudanese dont want foreign investment then why not do it yourselves....

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      • 15 February 2009 16:40, by Benywut

        Amazed or A-messed,

        The point is, GOSS or whoever is giving contract should be carefull and attached some conditionsto foreign investors’s contract as well as establishing monitoring mechanism.
        If you are one of the beneficiaries of the liecence then you need to look at the big picture ma bro/Sis

        Please unlearned

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        • 15 February 2009 22:56, by amazed

          Of course GOSS should do that. Why assume they havent dont that?

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    • 16 February 2009 20:09, by Thomes

      Dr. Luka Biong Deng, GOSS Minister of Presidential Affairs and Mr. Pagan Amum should be taken to court for taking shareholding deal with this huge investment license (GMS Mobile) to a Lebanese businessman.

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    • 17 February 2009 15:01, by Concerned African

      Greetings my brother,

      You maybe right about the previous incedents of the lebanese, but we must agree in all cultures and everything you can not fail to get bad characters and good characters, as you mentioned yourself it is a huge investment, do you seriously think the Government can just through the license to just anyone without proper scrutiny of back ground? i dont think so. Secondly do not forget no investor coming to invest in the Southern Sudan can get licence without having a southerner to partner with, what am simply trying to say is Vivacell is not in anyway affiliated with the people we consider enemies, and since it has a reliable Southern Sudanese partner which is the SPLM it self we have no right to call it a lebanese investment since it has become part and percel of us, Vivacell is the first network to build its base inside the Southern Sudan and have given crucial positions to Southerners and still is on a daily. If you look into the matter more deeply you may come to find out that this maybe the only source of telecommunication to help Southerners from the fear of enemy attack through telecommunication. Long live Southern Sudan, and thanks to all conserned people including you my brother for having eyebrowse open in making sure whatever is done is for the good of the people, but let us avoid judging people from others mistakes. Lastly, as per me Southerners have a huge problem amognst themselves which more crucial and can drop us rapidly than terorism this is tribalism, it is very shamefull to outsiders to find us introduce our selves as "am so and so and am Dinka bahr el ghazal, am so and so and am Nuer...and so on..this in its own shows division amongst us. take an example of rwanda, or anyother country which just risen from clashes, a rwandan will NEVER introduce him/herself as so and so Hutu or tutsi. We need investors no one can deny, but we need to scrutinise which i believe was done for Vivacell case before giving licences, and we should be thankfull that Southern Sudan has its own based Telecommunication network which Southerners themselves can control.

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  • 15 February 2009 22:08, by Aduol Liet

    Well,most Africa networking are not working as it should be in the other nation, for example.The mobil phone is supposed to be use within one country or the whole Africa Nations however,it does n’t seem to work well as people are likely like it. Regarding the new mobile lauched in Southern Sudan, could that mobile network phone be different than any other used network from Africa as a whole? Another question was why that new mobile phone will be functionable at those Locations which have been mentioned rather than let the new mobile networking lauching in all 10 States of Southern Sudan? I do think Southern Sudan will not be 10 States only if the separation came in the Sudan, I think there will be more than 15 States as they always need new Sudan for possiability. Infact, I wish I would give my pleasure to Investment Group who offically come up with a thoughtfully Ideas this is a good things for the people of Southern Sudan and it should be the good also for they Investment Groups. I’m very sure that, Southern Sudan will have more and more friendshiping around they Nations. This is why people of Sudan want changes in the government system in order for the people of the Sudan to have connecting with others world of Day.
    Finally, I am absolutely supporting that kind of Idea but I would rather need what I had state above, Let the network to be workable like many Western’s Nations and that is the good way when needing business in one way or another.I hope you yuys take my a little advise and thank for that.
    Sincerely part of Southern Sudan Native
    Aduol Liet.
    U,S.

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    • 16 February 2009 03:05, by Magos

      No No No better Arabas materials around the world ,If you ’re in seek of better telcommunciattion, please take them from America ,Europe England ,Australia, Indeed those countries ’re the best people with out shirtting.So leave Arab alone with Bashire , Taha and Fackling Lesbone new mobile networking.They ’re all terorists,they ’re looking where to possion you ,this ’s another ways of their planing to kill all of you.

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      • 16 February 2009 09:57, by william wol

        I fully agreed with my brothers in one point or another, because to contract the devil is better to remain without, So Mr. Changson should takes a great caution before contracting any terrorist allies, otherwise, unexperted southerners shall grind teeth.I think you have seen from the current mobile in south,, that is zain, during Abyei clash last year, all zain staions were closed down for one reason or another.So then, enough is enough we had been oppressed practically and we do not want political oppression anymore. Surely, telecommunications are most important in term of developmental progress. Therefore the minister Changson as entrusted by southerners to work for them in this key ministrial position, should not accept anyhing that can harm us tomorrw.Please never never never contract terrorist and whoever that not value human life at all.I am not against investors but against terrorism.

        May everlasting God blesses our minister for information and broadcasting and give him the longest sigth so much so that be able to see devils from far.

        SPL/AM OYEE.
        William Wol.

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        • 16 February 2009 19:15, by Thomes

          I fully agreed with you, this is really a serious mistake to give such a huge investment license (GMS Mobile) to a Lebanese businessman to operate in southern Sudan. Because of our correpted Government official like Dr. Luka Biong Deng, GOSS Minister of Presidential Affairs will only look for this own personal interest and Mr. Pagan Amum.

          I hope God will panish them on thier correcpt practice and benefiting on expensise of others.

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          • 17 February 2009 15:09, by Bidali Marauders

            In regards to all the comments made upon the launch of a new mobile operator in South Sudan, many people have reacted to it as if they dont understand the misery the local population suffered all this long periods of the both 21years of the civil war inside the country and those who tested exile in refugees camps in the neighborhood.

            Just to the point, I can’t why you guys, blame Ministers for corruption yet, they (Minister) did was to reduce the burden of the expensive communications cost the local population endured all along their respective life, for example after the signing of the CPA, who came out of nowhere to rescue the situation in communication, the answer is no-one........and what you do is to bark at developers or investor naming and calling them Terrorist.

            Lets take a look at the past and try to think positively towards the future on what will happen come 2 or 3years from now.

            I myself is a pure Sudanese...... writting inside my country that we should learn to appreciate than to oppose blindly without weighing the merits and its opposite before commenting on an item or event.

            Let the Almighty God bless!! those who understand....Amen.

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  • 17 February 2009 16:37, by spanner

    It sounds good but i hope it will not be like the other GHOST network call Gmetel,which untill now,no body knows the reall owner,Vivacell can win the competition in south sudan if it uses the sudan code of 249,becouse gemtel has hooked millions of dollars in the name of communication services by using Ugandan code of 256, but offers poor network services,thats why i call it GHOST-TEL not GEMTEL,becouse even the ministers,MPs,even salva him self,doesnt know who owns this Ghost-tel called gemtel,what a CORRUPTED goverment,or individual who want to get rich at the expences of the poor,i shall never pay for the sevice of this ghost network called gemtel even if south sudan becomes another country and ghost tel is the only network,i better pay for zain,or sudani cose am a sudanese and shall be sudanese though margenelised,shame on you(yes,shame on the owner of ghost-tel)
    Viva la vie, vivacell,go ahead and expand to all the ten states of southern sudan,especiall greater Equatoria,becouse you will have 2 million subscribers within a year,viva la vie viva cell

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    • 17 February 2009 20:35, by Dongway Doorich

      to Spaner

      this is a good point to mention in your comment about unknown network you are calling Ghost.
      the word Ghost is always used for the non existent things but not for some thing which exists. you alone is admitting the existence of Gemtel to the fact that you don’t want to pay your money to its service. if reality are spell , then you must be a Ghost and not gemetel. ask the true southerners if you really exist to tell you how gemtel has help in connecting ten states of south Sudan very fast. a service which was not there before.
      why are you not happy with gemtel ? did you apply for the job with gemtel ltd and they rejected you?
      plz don’t just blame anything that exist and rendering a service which your Northern masters did not succeed in giving to the innocent people of south Sudan before .
      the issue is not so big that even require my comment but the most important thing is that , real people of south Sudan are very much happy with gemtel in respect to who own the gemtel .only imaginary people (Ghost ) people like you are not happy .
      do you know who own Zain,Sudani,MTN in sudan?
      bullshit complaint
      thanks

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