South Sudan's mobile service provider, Gemtel, has tested and gone live with South Sudan's +211 dialling code. Gemtel went live with the code on October 1st, about 2 months ahead of the December 15th deadline. Major General Madut Biar Yel, the Republic of South Sudan's Minister for Telecommunication and Postal Services also announced that one other mobile operator would be switching to the country's +211 code. Zain is also reported to have launched the new dialling code . Zain operations in Sudan and South Sudan were not part of the stake sold to Bharti Airtel and later re-branded to Airtel in several African countries.
South Sudan became a republic on the 9th July 2011 after voting to secede from Sudan in January this year. The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) granted South Sudan the +211 dialling code in July this year.
Previously, most of South Sudan's telecom operators were relying on Sudan's +249 dilling code. Gemtel at some point has used the Ugandan +256 dialling code, especially in a period between 2008 and 2009. The move was however met with a lot of opposition in Uganda and at one time resulted in a spat between Uganda's MTN and the incumbent Uganda Telecom over interconnection fee.
South Sudan currently has three mobile operators, Vivacell, Gemtel and Zain. In 2010, South Sudan's Government sold Gemtel to the Libyan Arab Investment Portfolio (LAP) Green Networks, which is linked Muammar Gadaffi, Libya's deposed leader.
Yel also made other announcements on the country's alpha-numeric codes and postal service. "We have also received our Alpha-numeric Country Codes "SS" (Alpha-2) and "SSD" (Alpha-3) from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), and will soon be advising you of arrangements to implement our Internet domain (dotSS). As you may have heard, these Alpha-codes have many applications, including the national currency (SSP) and passports (SSD), among others. In the same vein, we are advanced with arrangements to join the Universal Postal Union (UPU) that will permit Juba to have its own International Postal Exchange for mail and parcel delivery," he said