Sudan’s national fibre optic backbone and international fibre connections have placed its telecommunication infrastructure among the regional frontrunners according to a report by Research and Markets.
The economy has performed poorly in recent years, with hyperinflation resulting from the effects of having lost much of its oil reserves to South Sudan and to domestic volatility and social unrest.
The country remains subject to United Nations Security Council (UNSC) sanctions which include (inter alia) an arms embargo, travel bans, and a freeze on certain assets.
This economic climate has made it difficult for operators to develop revenue from services and sufficiently invest in infrastructure upgrades.
Nevertheless, Sudatel in 2016 began investing in rural tower infrastructure to improve connectivity, though such measures remain far below what is required, and in early 2018. The telco also signed deals with Nokia to upgrade mobile infrastructure and with Liquid Telecom to build out a fibre broadband network across the country.
Competition in the fixed-line market comes from Canar Telecom, which was majority-owned by Etisalat until Etisalat sold its 92.3 per cent interest to the Bank of Khartoum in mid-2016. The operator opted to adopt CDMA2000 technology to cost-effectively roll out fixed services and in April 2017 it secured spectrum in the 2.5GHz band which has enabled it to launch LTE services.