JUBA, March 29 — South Sudan’s telecom regulator has shut down mobile phone firm Vivacell’s network, accusing the operator of not complying with the country’s laws and regulations.
Ladu Kenyi, Director General of the National Communications Authority (NCA), effected the shutdown on Tuesday midnight following the expiration of a one-week ultimatum.
“We are shutting down all the traffic of Vivacell because of non compliance. We are tackling one company at a time. If we are finished with Vivacell, we shall come to others,” Kenyi said in a statement broadcast on state radio Tuesday evening.
The South Sudanese authorities had earlier suspended Vivacell’s international traffic and ordered it to close within a week. The company’s local and international traffic services have all been disconnected.
Kenyi said Vivacell — a joint venture between Lebanon’s Fattouch Investment Group and South Sudanese traders — has been operating without a license in disregard of the country’s communications law.
The official said the government would ensure that Vivacell customers would get compensation for losses caused by the shutdown.
“We are asking the public to bear with us and be patient because we are showing that this country is sovereign because no body will come here and play with our regulations,” Kenyi said.
Vivecell is yet to respond to its closure. But last week, the telecom company said in a statement that it regretted the suspension order and said was working with authorities to settle the matter.
Two operators, Kuwait’s Zain and South Africa’s MTN, remain operational in South Sudan.