MTN South Sudan, the local mobile unit of South Africa-based MTN Group, has activated the first of around 160 new base stations to be rolled out this year, in a bid to improve network quality and coverage across the world’s newest state. The Upper Nile Times reports that South Sudan’s vice president Wani Igga switched on the base station in the previously unserved community of Lobonok. A further 160 new cell sites are set to go live by year-end, to be followed by the upgrade of an existing 147 mobile towers, as part of a USD76 million network expansion and modernisation project. MTN South Sudan’s CEO Philip Besiimire said the company is working with Chinese equipment vendor ZTE to modernise its existing network. ‘MTN’s approach in all the countries we operate in has been to establish national networks and to ensure deep penetration of our services into the population as opposed to concentrating only in the urban areas and the towns,’ he noted.