Telecom Blackout in Sudan

A complete communications network Sudan blackout took place on the 7Th of February which left over 50 million Sudanese without internet.

A complete communications network blackout took place in Sudan on the 7Th of February.

Over 50 million Sudanese were left without internet or signal, leaving them unable to make payments or get in contact with the outside world. This has been blamed on the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) which has left the war-weary citizens of Sudan without aid.

The RSF has been in conflict with the Sudanese Army over who would take control of the control since April 2023. The war has killed and/or displaced millions, and sparked famine in the nation. This war led RSF to shut down networks in the nation that began on the 5th of February and resulted in a complete blackout on the 7th which was two days later.

According to the sources, RSF soldiers had threatened to conduct a blackout unless engineers brought back power to the western Darfur region which is under RSF control and has been without power for months before the blackout ended. RSF soldiers have been threatening the blackout for a considerable duration. Yet telecom companies have blamed the blackout on the lack of fuel and the dangerous working situation.

Despite a government order prohibiting them, devices connected to Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite internet system have multiplied; however, a mass number of them remain disconnected in a nation where smartphones are used for everything and where many people have access to Wi-Fi and data networks. Sudanese commerce has become increasingly reliant on e-wallets. The rolling of events led to a dry up, belongings are being stolen, and banks are currently being stretched.

Numerous pleas were made on social media in order to reach out to their families. “I am very worried for my family,” stated the 48-year-old doctor Mohamed al-Nour, who is currently living abroad. “I can’t contact them, and they depend on my money transfers.”

The outage has restricted many factors such as communications with their loved ones. People had a blast from the past and decided to start writing letters to their families in Sudan and have them sent with anyone going.

A governmental source stated that the national team authority was working towards restoring services with companies and denied negotiations with RSF. No response or comment came from any company other than Kuwaiti-owned Zain and South African-owned MTN who have made it clear the Sudan blackout is out of their control.

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