Zain customers decry new exorbitant internet tariffs

March 24, 2021

Subscribers of the telecommunications company, Zain South Sudan, have complained about costly charges for the company’s recently launched fourth-generation (4G) broadband cellular network technology in Juba.

Earlier this month, Zain’s local unit in South Sudan launched a commercial 4G offering in the capital city Juba.

According to Arkangelo Michael Philip, a Zain subscriber in Juba told Radio Tamazuj that the new Zain 4G network works very well, is fast but too costly.

“It is a little faster when you are using data. Data is easy to download, movies and even music and some other things, which is the positive impact, Philip said. “But the negative impact is the high cost of the data you buy. The prices are not friendly, you have to buy a lot of data to enable you access for a short time.”

“So the main challenge is the cost of the data. It is very high, but otherwise, now they have improved the strength of the network itself and you can watch movies online but it costs a lot of money to finish,” he added.

Another Zain user, Gatkuoth Samuel, said that ever since Zain launched the 4G nothing has changed and that their services are poor.

“I heard that Zain launched the 4G but I have not experienced whether it is active or not because I have been using the normal subscription for Zain network and I have not seen any change of the internet improvement. I don’t know whether it is working or not, no notification that I got from them,” Gatkuoth said.

Sworo James, a Zain user in Yei said he only uses his Zain line to call his wife in Uganda because it is relatively cheaper for calls, especially to Uganda.

“I use Zain to call my wife in Uganda and my experience is that it is relatively cheap. The rates are not so bad so that is what I find from Zain Company,” Sworo said.

However, the acting CEO of Zain South Sudan, Kalid Mohammed, said that they understand complaints about the high costs but said for them to offer better services, they have to increase the costs.

“We know there is an increase in our rates but it is not only us. It is the whole communication (sector). This increase is associated with an increase in our costs. Even our customers know there is generally an increase in price in the market,” Mohammed said. “For us to provide better services and to extend our network coverage and the quality, we have to increase our rates.”

The Zain CEO said that they worked in collaboration with the National Communications Authority (NCA) and the ministry of communication and telecommunications and carried out studies that determined that they had to increase tariffs to cover attendant costs.

At the launch of Zain’s 4G network earlier in the month, Baba Medan Konyi, the deputy minister of information and broadcasting said, 'It's the right time to have 4G internet since the government is implementing the peace agreement, it will make communication easy among the people as we are going to disseminate messages of peace across the country.'

In a statement on social media at the time, South Sudan’s Ministry of ICT and Postal Services noted that the launch was carried out in collaboration with the country’s National Communication Authority (NCA).

According to TeleGeography, as of the end of 2020, Zain South Sudan had 1.05 million subscribers, putting it in second place behind its sole competitor MTN South Sudan, which has 1.70 million customers.


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