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The Role of Rural Telecoms in the Socio-economic Development. By: Eng. Ibrahim Eisa El-BAIGAWI , Manager of Projects Department, Sudatel, Sudan Tel: + 249 1 83 77 63 99 Fax: + 249 1 83 78 50 27 Cell: +249 9 12 30 32 01

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The Role of Rural Telecoms

in the Socio-economic Development

By: Eng. Ibrahim Eisa El-BAIGAWI,

Manager of Projects Department, Sudatel, Sudan

Tel: + 249 1 83 77 63 99

Fax: + 249 1 83 78 50 27

Cell: +249 9 12 30 32 01

E-mail: or

Sudatel site:

Regional Workshop on

“ Visibility of Rural Connectivity ”

Khartoum –Sudan 05 - 07 September 2004



Major Points:

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Definition of Rural Areas and Rural telecoms
  • Rural Telecom Networks in the Sudan
  • The socio-economic environment in the Sudan
  • Effects of the Globalization
  • The need for the ICT’s to Drive the Socio-economic Development
  • The Expected Role of the Rural Telecom in the Development
  • Case study from the Sudan
  • Conclusion and Remarks

1.0 Abstract (1):

  • Over 75 % of third world population live in rural areas.
  • Africa has 20 % of the world’s population and only 2 % of the world’s telephone lines (2 per 1000). Most of those in the capital cities & perhaps few major cities- almost nothing in the rural and remote isolated areas. Source (IIR WLL South Africa 1999).
  • The rural areas where those people live suffer from the lack of almost all kinds of infrastructures (roads, rails, electricity,. and ICT).
  • As a human right, rural areas social needs include remote access to education, e-trade, e-banking, e-mail, ..etc tele-servics to enable young generations for the future. Connect institutions like mosques, churches, libraries, post offices, transport stations (bus, rail, port).

1.0 Abstract (2):

  • The ICT is a mandatory vehicle for the socio-economic development.The investment cost of the rural networks is reasonably higher than that of a traditional network.
  • The revenues from telecom business in the rural areas are fairly low due to the poverty and lack of the affordability. However, typical profitability in some cases is much higher than for standard residential service.
  • This paper will try to explore the role of the rural telecoms in the Socio-Economic development in some areas of the world (e.g. Sudan).

2.0 Introduction (1):

  • Several reasons dictate the socio-economic development of the rural areas. They can a source of disorder for the life in any country or a region unless dealt with properly and can lead to international instability.
  • Rural telecom has to be recognized as a key factor for economic, social and cultural development. They play vital role in emergency situations, health care, and education. They reduce the need to travel and improve the quality of life.They can help to decrease migration from rural to urban areas.
  • The GLOBALIZATION process has taken place already and the rural areas are not an exemption. Global Information Telecom and Global Information Infrastructure (GII) has to be established immediately. They are crucial for balanced development of nations economy and of society.

2.0 Introduction (2):

  • Rural telecom technologies are also witnessing development by the manufacturers but slowly due to the small and less profitable market.
  • Rural telecom technologies include Wireless local loop systems over radio ( DECT, PHS, CDMA, B-CDMA (ISDN specs), Satellites systems (Arabsat, Nilesat, Thuraya, Domestic satellite E/S, VSAT,…etc).
  • Think of the IMT-2000 the flexible radio access standard known as International Mobile Telecommunications- 2000 (IMT- 2000). Its aim is to ensure that the various satellites, terrestrial,fixed and mobile systems being developed and deployed converge towards true Global Service capabilities.

2.0 Introduction (3):

  • Consider the technology trends (from narrowband to wideband, from voice to multiservice networks, from wire to wireless, from switched to intelligent networks (packet switched networks)..
  • Rural areas will soon need broadband services as long as they need services ranging from voice-mail, standard telephony, video conferencing, VCR quality movies up to high definition TV.
  • The Internet service is urgently needed in the rural areas. The the vision has to be “ In every home, business, school, mosque church, station (bus, rail, ..), post office, in every town, country on the Globe Internet can be accessed without limitation, at any time and in every language”.

3.0 Definition of the Rural Areas/ Telecoms (1):

  • . Traditional, the term “rural” is applied to the countryside or to sparsely population areas. However, population concentration is not the only determining factors in defining rural area. A rural area, generally, consists of scattered settlements, villages and small towns, exhibiting one or a combination of the following characteristics:
  • A - scarcity or absence of public faculties such as a reliable electricity supply, water, access roads and regular transport;
  • B - population primarily concerned with several and basic needs and with an insufficient number of locally available qualified technical staff;
  • C - difficult topological conditions (deserts, and mountainous areas) which are obstacles to the construction of normal terrestrial links;industries.

3.0 Definition of the Rural Areas/ Telecoms (2):

  • . D - adverse climate conditions which make critical demands on the survival and maintenance of equipment;
  • E - the need for telecommunications dictated by socio-political considerations and not at least in the short term by considerations of profit;
  • F - spares and scattered population with relatively poor and temporary housing;
  • G - scarcity of health and education facilities, currently hindered owing to lack of communications;
  • H - economic activity limited to basic vocations such as agriculture, fishing and cottage industries.
3 0 definition of rural areas telecoms 3
3.0 Definition of Rural Areas/ Telecoms (3):
  • Rural Telecom System can be:
      • Wireless Local Loop (WLL) systems
      • Satellite systems
      • Small switches
      • Vsat + WLL
  • Rural Telecom Technologies can be:
      • TDMA based
      • CDMA based
      • GMPC, Vsat
      • GSM
3 0 definition of rural areas telecoms 4
3.0 Definition of Rural Areas/ Telecoms (4):

Pros and cons of each standard in each geographical area type

Source: Analysis

3 0 definition of rural areas telecoms 5
3.0 Definition of Rural Areas/ Telecoms (5):
  • TDMA-most effective in dense rural and urban areas
  • Fixed cellular-cost-effective for urban and certain rural areas
  • CDMA-best in high-density suburban/ flat areas
  • Satellite-appropriate for remote isolated areas

Different technologies have coverage –specific cost structures


Source: Analysis

3 0 definition of rural areas telecoms 6
3.0 Definition of Rural Areas/ Telecoms (6):

Cost per access line

Example of cost characteristic curve

Wire line access

Wireless access

Decreasing subscriber density

Source: Analysis


4.0 Rural Telecom Networks in the Sudan

  • مواقع الشبكات الريفية
  • بور تسودان.
  • كسلا و أروما.
  • القضارف.
  • حلفا الجديدة.
  • الفــــــاو.
  • وسط الجزيرة.
  • شمال الجزيرة.
  • المناقــــل.
  • الدمازين.
  • النيل الأزرق.
  • النيل الأبيض.
  • الأبيض.
  • بـــــارا.
  • هجليج.
  • شــندى.
  • دنقـــلا.
  • كريمة.
  • المدن الثلاثة(عطبرة-أبو حمد – الدبة ).
  • الخرطوم الكبرى.

وادى حلفا









حلفا الجديدة

























الشبكات المخططة في 2004م


الشبكات الريفية العاملة

4 0 rural communications in sudan cont
4.0 Rural Communications in Sudan: Cont.


“Penetration: fixed line around 4 %, Rural around 0.16 %”

Source: Core Planning Division


5.0 The socio-Economic Environment in Sudan

  • The economy of the Sudan is greatly improving in terms of Oil production and exportation, Gold mining, controlled inflation, …..and other positively increasing parameters.
  • The civil war in the Southern Region has been held under control by the relevant parties and total settlement of peace is about to take place. The civil war in Dar-Fur is also facing strong peace initiatives.
  • Upon signing peace agreements and stability achievement a high potential for development will occur and large investments will be attracted to the rural areas.
  • Telecom has played an important in the control of different crisis and promoting the economy.

6.0 Effects of the Globalization (1)

  • The Sudan is an Afro-Arab country belongs to the Middle East and African Horn zones.
  • Sudan has got a 100 % digital telecom network and GSM set established since 1996.
  • Sudan will soon obtain an STM-1 capacity of Internet Service via the Jeddah-Port Sudan submarine Cable from BT of England..
  • Some rural areas (Gezira, Managil, Blue Nile and White Nile) in Sudan witness success in providing Internet.
  • Sudan and its rural areas are part of the Arab world, Africa and the global village.

Report on:

The Human Knowledge Development (2)

To establish the Knowledge Society in the Arab Region:

  • Freedom
  • Overall spread out of high quality education.
  • Transfer of Knowledge and capacity building
  • Transfer to a knowledge producing economy
  • Establishment of an Arab Model to upgrade Arabic Language
common international vision 1
Common International Vision (1)

All nations of the world,

Expressed their joint willingness and joint commitment to build up a Universal Information Society the final goal of which is the man.

The challenge is to make use of the information and telecommunications technologies in order to realize the objectives of the development in the Millennium Declaration which is:

Total removal of starvation and hunger, realization of preliminary education for every mankind, balance the gender issue and support the women, reduce rate of death of infants/ babies, improve the health of mothers, fight the HIV/ AIDS and malaria and other diseases, secure an ever lasting environment, and make up international allies for the sake of the development.

common international vision 2
Common International Vision (2)
  • It is acknowledged that the benefits of the telecom revolution are not distributed equally in the present time between the countries (developed and developing countries). We are committed to transfer the DIGITAL DIVIDE to a DIGITAL OPPORTUNITY.
  • We assure that the development of the telecommunication and information technology will generate very big opportunities for the women as a main part of the information society and one of its active elements.
common international vision 3
Common International Vision (3)
  • We will concentrate on the needs of the sided and weakest groups including the migrants, the internal homeless and the displaced people and non-employed, minorities and nomads, old people and handicapped and disabled. To enable the poor people who live in the remote isolated, rural and urban sided areas to access information and use the ICT as a tool for liberating from the poverty.
  • To build up the universal information society a new form of participation and cooperation between the government and other beneficiaries, I.e. public sector, non-governmental agencies (NGO’s) and international organizations. We call for the DIGITAL COLLABORATION in both regional and international levels.

Common International Vision (4)

The infrastructure for the information and telecommunication is very important for building the universal information society.

The Accessibility, universal access in any place by equal chances, and fair cost to the ICT infrastructure and its services is one of the the challenges in the information society and it has to be the goal of the beneficiaries to build this society.


Common International Vision (5)

We need to offer a dynamic and supportive international environment which enable the direct foreign investment and the technology transfer and the international cooperation. In addition to that the full and effective participation of the developing countries in the decision making at international level. The improvement of the Universal Access at a fair cost will make a big contribution to the effectiveness of the development efforts.

Standardization is of the basic elements of building the information society. The international standards aim at creating an environment in which users can access to the services in every part of the world regardless of the technologies that support these services.


Common International Vision (6)

It would be favorable if the countries work hard within the context of building the information society to take some steps to forbid and avoid any activities from one side not agreeing which does not comply with the international law and the united nation convention..


7.0 The Need for ICT to Drive Development

Needs can be Seen in the Following Areas

  • Daily life,
  • Governmental operations and services,
  • Healthcare, health- information,
  • Education,
  • Training,
  • Jobs, job opportunities,
  • Disaster relief,
  • Culture,
  • Poverty fighting,

and other development objectives.

cultural diversity and cultural identity linguistic diversity and local content
Cultural Diversity and Cultural IdentityLinguistic Diversity and Local Content

Human Heritage:

Respect habits, religions, concepts and encourage dialogue between cultures and civilizations.

Assurance of the diverse cultural identity will enrich the information society according to the UNESCO and the UN documents.

Take care about the creativity and respect the rights of the artists and authors. Support the production of diverse contents including scientific, cultural, entertainment, in different languages, styles, and accessibility.

The development of a local content may suites the local and regional needs of the communities and will encourage the socio-economic development and offer an incentive to all the beneficiaries including those who are living in the rural and remote isolated areas.

media and information 1
Media and Information (1)

The importance of media freedom and information freedom in addition to the independence, multiparty and diversity in the information media as core elements of the information society. Of great importance the inquiry about information, delivery, broadcasting and use to make accumulation and distribution of knowledge. Media is required to treat the information with high spirit of caution and in consistency with the ethical and professional standards.

media and information 2
Media and Information (2)

The traditional information media plays an important role in the information society and it is better to encourage its diversity in consistency with the national laws of each country taking into account the relevant international agreements and laws. There has to be a limit for the imbalance between the media at the international level regarding the infrastructure, technical resources and human skills.

ethical dimensions of the information society
Ethical Dimensions of the Information Society

Much care has to be given to the human rights and the basic freedoms including the personal privacy and the freedom of thinking, consciousness and religion in consistent with the international relevant documents and conventions.

9 0 conclusion and remarks
9.0 Conclusion and Remarks:
  • Rural telecom play an essential role in the emergency, health, education services,commerce and other economic activity and in reducing the need to travel. There is moreover a trace of commercial viability between the investment in the rural telecom and the economic growth.
  • Decision makers and investment institutions are invited to pay attention to the Rural Telecom as a vehicle and a pre-condition for the development in the rural areas, no matter what kind of development is needed there..
  • Regularity authorities are invited to facilitate and give incentives to the incumbent operators and their competitors in order to establish telecoms in the rural areas
  • The role of the rural telecom is very important and quite vital in the socio-Economic development.
10 0 references
10.0 References:
  • Rural telecoms’ 99 Cape Town, South Africa organized by the IRR group.
  • Pyramid research
  • Mitland Report of the independent commission for world wide telecommunications development “The Missing Link” Executive Summary
  • Analysis research center
  • Overall National Strategy Report (1992- 2002), Report 1999
  • Core planning division, Projects department, Sudatel
  • Thanks are due to the ITU and Center of Excellence who invited me to contribute to this workshop (Visibility of Rural Connectivity) .
  • Thanks to Sudatel for giving the honor to lead the (Workshop Preparatory Steering Committee).
  • Thanks to Dr. Abuqayyas for recommending me to the ITU/ BDT to do this work.
  • Thanks to our distinguished delegates and guests from esteemed companies and sister countries.