News / Africa

South Sudan’s Lack of Infrastructure a Challenge for Cell Phone Industry

Salva Kiir (L) VP and President of South-Sudan in Nairobi (File)
Salva Kiir (L) VP and President of South-Sudan in Nairobi (File)

Multimedia

Audio
  • Michael Lissa, an engineer with the independent cell phone network Mobitel spoke with Clottey

Peter Clottey

Telephone communications in southern Sudan are often difficult because of a lack of infrastructure, says Michael Lissa, an engineer with the independent cell phone network Mobitel.

“We have really a very big problem,” says Lissa.  “We don’t have very good roads down here, so that makes it very difficult for us to expand the telecommunication networks.”

Customers sometimes complain of delays in placing calls, a problem he attributes to Mobitel’s use of satellites for transmitting calls, rather than land lines or fiber optic networks that require roads for installation.

Complicated logistics and dated technologies also lead to delays.  For example, Lissa says international calls to southern Sudan are routed from Khartoum to various switching stations before being sent on to their final destinations.

But things are improving, says Lissa, especially when compared to early efforts at developing a telecommunications system for the south.

“At that time we were limited to the towns not under the control of the SPLM (Sudan’s People Liberation Movement).  So, [during the civil war] we [focused] only in the central regions…that is, in the Upper Nile region and Equatoria,” Lissa said.

In 2006, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) awarded the U.S.-based Louis Berger Group a five-year contract to improve infrastructure. The $700 million contract will help expand transportation, social services, and economic infrastructure in Southern Sudan and three areas straddling the line between the north and south -- the oil-producing area of Abyei and the states of Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan.

Despite the difficulties, says Lissa, there are signs of growth in the telecommunications network.

“We have [expanded greatly], and this was done with the construction of some roads.  Wherever there are good roads, we go and put in the telephone network.”

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) says it has spent $84.2 million in the region since fiscal year 2004. The funds were used for a number of purposes, including clearing land, building new roads and the planning, mapping and electrification of towns.

You May Like

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid