JUBA, May 22 (Xinhua) -- South Sudan on Wednesday launched its maiden International Gateway which will ease call rates and boost internet services offered by its two leading telecom companies.
Michael Makuei Lueth, minister of information and broadcasting, said the country will benefit from quality international communication for voice and data besides improving on the hitherto slow internet connectivity within the east African nation.
"The new (international) gateway we are launching is a public-private partnership with international partners experienced in telecommunication that includes shared revenue agreement with government and also promotion of low cost and quality voices and data traffic to the world," said Lueth in Juba.
An International Gateway is a telephone number through which calls are routed to get cheaper rates on international long distance charges or to make calls through voice over IP networks internationally.
South Sudan has an estimated 4 million people with access to mobile phones out of 12 million population.
The major telecom companies still operating in South Sudan include MTN and Zain after Lebanese-owned telecom Vivacell was forced to shut down over license row with authorities.
Martin Keller, director of MGI Company that developed the gateway, said it will enable transfer of knowledge, and also help capacity building and boost revenue generation for the country.
"We have finished the international voice gateway and now working on the data gateway which will improve internet services and enable South Sudan to occupy her place in the global technology world," said Keller.
In March, South Sudan increased call rates by 40 percent in a bid to shore up the telecom sector services due to an economic crunch caused by the conflict that broke out in December 2013.