Zain Sudan, the country’s largest mobile operator by subscribers, is waiting for government permission to launch an LTE network, reports Reuters, citing the firm’s chief executive Elfatih Erwa, who was speaking at a conference in Dubai. Once approval is received, the Kuwaiti-owned cellco could begin offering 4G services within four months, Erwa added, as much of Zain’s mobile broadband network is already able to support the technology. Data (excluding SMS) currently accounts for 11% of the operator’s revenue, but Erwa said that this was expected to rise to 15% in 2015. He told Reuters that Zain has raised annual employee wages by an average of 15% to mitigate inflation in Sudan, which was as high as 46.4% in August. Sudan lost around three-quarters of its oil output when the South seceded in July 2011, ending its main source of state revenue and foreign currency. As a result, the country’s wireless operators – Zain, South Africa’s MTN Sudan and locally-owned Sudatel – face a number of challenges, including a shortage of foreign currency, a significant drop in the value of the Sudanese pound (SDG) and soaring inflation.
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