Zain yet to agree telco licence fee with South Sudan


Zain Sudan has spent $60 million splitting its operations in two following the succession of South Sudan, but has yet to agree a license fee with the newly independent country, the telecoms operator's chief executive said on Tuesday.

South Sudan seceded from the north in July, the culmination of a 2005 peace deal that ended decades of civil war.

The fledgling country now has its own international dialing code, 211, which spurred Zain Sudan, a unit of Kuwait's Zain, to split its operations.

"Our network is completely separated and we are running both the old numbers and the new numbers so that we don't deprive our customers of being disconnected until they make a full switch," Elfatih Erwa, Zain Sudan chief executive, told Reuters."There were very big technical challenges."

Zain Sudan will spend $280 million improving its infrastructure in the north in 2012, while the operator's capital expenditure in the south is likely to be between $60 million and $80 million. Zain Sudan has 12.7 million mobile subscribers, up from 10.7 million at the end of March. The firm has continued operations in South Sudan despite no agreement over a licence fee.