Getting ready for the future: South Sudan

Building new fibre routes is an obvious way to speed up access to the Internet. But the gains always seem incremental – nearly all countries have at least one international fibre cable and sometimes many more. South Sudan is a great illustration of the impact of fibre compared to other forms of connectivity like satellite and microwave. In 2020, Liquid and Muya built two fibre cables from Juba to Uganda. The table shows that the impact was dramatic: between Q1 of 2019 and Q1 of 2022, latencies were reduced by 70% and download speeds increased by 238%. Of course, connectivity is only better in Juba and surrounds – the rest of the country doesn’t have access to fibre. That infrastructure rollout still needs to happen but the benefits are easy to see. 

  2019 Q12020 Q12021 Q12022 Q1Change
FixedAverage download speed in Mbps2.
Average upload speed in Mbps224.55.8189.70%
Latency in milliseconds706.2398.7285.1220.3-68.80%
MobileAverage download speed in Mbps2.8314.715.8465.20%
Average upload speed in Mbps1.41.376344.20%
Latency in milliseconds270.9203.8146.282.2-69.60%
Other news from around Africa 
  • Malawi: There are rumours that Malawi’s 3rd network operator, Nyasa Mobile, has partnered with Vodafone to build its network. It will be interesting to see the form the partnership takes because Vodafone has been burnt in the past, like in Zambia. 
  • Zimbabwe: Some economists are predicting the collapse of the Zimbabwean dollar with inflation at 94% in April. MNOs have been given permission to increase their prices, but it’s difficult to see how continued investment in the country is possible under these economic conditions. 
  • Nigeria: Starlink has received an ISP license and initial indications are that broadband prices would be 70% cheaper than existing prices. However, there is no confirmed date for launch. 
  • The Gambia: The regulator, PURA, is launching an investigation into high prices. However, a study has already been done by the World Bank and is very clear on what the obstacles are to more affordable and better quality access.