The MTN service center, the first by a mobile telecoms service provider at the border, will provide instant connectivity to citizens, travelers, including businesses, public and humanitarian actors, and indirectly ease customs flow.
“Our long wait is over; this is big for us as people have been suffering,” Magwi Commissioner, Francis Okech said, following a day-long art and music festivities to mark the new landmark.
Thousands of people use the border exit point as they head to the East African region, either for school, business, or family visits, while some Internally Displaced Persons live in the area. But, until now, Nimule border post, the country’s major trade point, has not had a major telecommunications service centre to make flawless communication possible.
Said the Commissioner:
“I’m requesting you to let your service reach us as, we do say: MTN everywhere you go. So now I’m confiding in you that Magwi County security is normal. We have no problem with insecurity. And the security of Magwi County lies in the hands of the population because they know how to handle themselves…to let the business grow. That’s why you see Nimule is growing because of the consent of the people. It’s not somebody to build from outside. So for us to build, we (have to be) hardworking people. We need to get connected. So these are some of the areas we wanted to tell you. You find an an area where there is no network. So it’s upon you as a customer to come and provide for us the service. We bring our sincere greetings from the people of Magwi County in Eastern Equatoria…they are happy to hear you are launching this office today. You continue visiting us so that we see an area where, necessary, to expand services)”
The service Center launch now makes MTN South Sudan the first multinational company to set up there. The center will ensure vendors don’t have to travel all the way to Juba to purchase airtime scratch cards, rectify problems. It will offer registration services for SIM Cards, mobile internet connections, reactivation of blocked numbers, and the affordable Carolina phone that comes fully connected for 85SSP.
“Sometimes service is down and there was nowhere one could go and rectify problems. We thank MTN and hope that this will be a start to expanding customer services deep into the villages around here,” Okech said.
Nassif, said that MTN is committed to expanding telecoms technology across the entire country in ways that boost economic development.
“When we talk about business, family, and service delivery, access to reliable telecommunications is a major engine,” he said.
According to Marketing Manager, Gasper Mbowa, the plan to expedite the launch of a customer care center at the border arose out of a realization that it would have an immediate impact on the lives of thousands of people daily. “Imagine someone has come all the way from Mombasa, where they were visiting family, and when they reach Nimule it’s 5 p.m., and they can’t call family in Juba to alert them that they will arrive late,” said the official.
Firms and humanitarian actors, who often import, through Nimule border post, much of what they need to implement their projects, were also taking a hit. “Someone arrives with logistics worth millions but they can’t reach the recipient in Juba in case they needed more information to expedite the clearance. The result would be a backlog. So, we anticipate business and customs officials to have some of their hurdles lessened,” Mbowa said. “The goal is to have as many service centers at all major border points to expedite connectivity of the country to the outside world.”