The Daily Monitor reports that the Ugandan government has cleared a South Sudan network to continue using Uganda’s dialing code (+256), under the condition that the region’s cellcos continue to pay for it.
The decision follows complaints from Ugandan MPs that Southern Sudan mobile operator Gemtel was given leeway by Uganda Telecom (UTL) to use the national code without parliamentary approval. Defending the move, State Minister for ICT Alintuma Nsambu told the country’s ICT Committee, ‘In any case we gain more if there is a bigger clientele in South Sudan using our code, the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) will collect more.’
The issue was widely publicised in 2007 after the Parliamentary Committee on State Enterprises learnt that Gemtel was using the country code without paying.
South of Sudan is currently served by two wireless network operators; privately-owned Gemtel, which offers limited coverage of a number of southern towns including Juba, Waw and Yei; and Lebanese-owned Vivacell, which launched commercial wireless services in January 2009.