Bayobab plans to deploy fibre optic network in South Sudan

Bayobab plans to deploy fibre optic network in South Sudan

While mobile remains the dominant form of communications across much of sub-Saharan Africa, fibre is continuing to make inroads into many, arguably very tough, markets for fixed communications, including, if recent reports prove correct, South Sudan.

Bayobab, the wholesale fibre optic subsidiary of pan-African communications giant MTN Group, apparently has plans to build a fibre optic cable network across South Sudan.

A report from the Ecofin news agency suggests that the company presented the project last week during a meeting with South Sudan’s National Communications Authority (NCA).

As Ecofin points out, this initiative is expected to help strengthen South Sudan’s digital infrastructure. Indeed the NCA is said to believe that this will ensure affordable and reliable internet access for all South Sudanese.

Still there’s a long way to go in a country with an estimated 1.36 million internet users at the start of 2024 for a penetration rate of 12.1%. A recent estimate from Worldometer puts the entire population of the country at just under 11,267,000.

While there are no precise details of how the project will be managed or carried out, it does fits with Bayobab’s ambition to densify its network to position itself as a world-class open access digital infrastructure platform focused on Africa. 

The company has been busy of late, recently acquiring the fibre optic assets from its affiliate, MTN Zambia and landing the 45,000 kilometre 2Africa cable in Ghana and Nigeria; it is part of the consortium driving the 2Africa project.

In addition, late last year it announced that it had been granted a national long-distance operator licence by the regulatory authorities in Nigeria and, in July, that it had secured a contract to manage, operate and maintain national fibre infrastructure in the Central African Republic.

With a proprietary terrestrial fibre network spanning 114,000 kilometres and positioned to extend to 135,000 kilometres by 2025, Bayobab says it serves approximately 295 million African subscribers on the MTN network.

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