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INTERNSHIP REPORT

COURSE CODE: CST426

MTN SOUTH SUDAN

SUBMITTED TO THE DEPARTMENT OF INFORMATION


TECHNOLOGY, COLLEGE OF COMPUTER SCIENCE AND
INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

UNIVERSITY OF JUBA

SUBMITTED BY
MANZU GERALD SIMON
INDEX NUMBER: 2010 – C – CS – 089
Semester 9

An Industrial Training Report in Partial Fulfillment of the


Requirement for the Award of a Bachelor of Science Degree
with Honors in Information Technology
December 2016
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APPROVALS

MTN SOUTH SUDAN


S/ NAMES DESIGNATION DATE SIGNATUR
N E

2017/02/…..
2017/02/…..

COLLEGE OF COMPUTER SCIENCE AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY


S/ NAMES DESIGNATION DATE SIGNATUR
N E
2017/02/…..

2017/02/…..
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DECLARATION

I Manzu Gerald Simon do hereby declare that this internship report is my original work and has
been written based on activities performed and knowledge obtained from the attachment on 6th
September through 9th December 2016.

I also confirm that the report is only prepared for my academic requirement, therefore it shall not
be used for any other purpose other than this.

No part of this material has been published or submitted by any student for academic purposes in
the University of Juba or any other University or College.

MANZU GERALD SIMON

DEPARTMENT OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

Signature: ……………………

Date: January 20th , 2017


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ACKNOWLEDGMENT

First and foremost, special regards to the department of Human Resource, MTN South Sudan
and more particularly to Mr. Monday Systo, for accepting, trusting and giving me an opportunity
to do an internship program with the organization. It is worth noting that this was the gateway to
my successful internship training with the technology department. For without their approval,
this could have just been a wish.

Secondly, the host department played a very tremendous role in nurturing me during the training.
Therefore, I would be biased if I do not mention them. My gratitude goes to Mr. Andualem
Makonen, manager IT Infrastructure and LISO. Mr. Andualem assigned great trainers who really
sacrificed their time to make sure that my internship program succeeded. Special thanks to
Edema Denis, Abura Tako, William Abano, Joseph Ndemo, Amango Logoye, Robert Rume, and
Izedin Yousif. This was the technical and practical team that aided me in all that I needed in this
training.

Last but not least, I would like to applaud all the employees of MTN South Sudan for their
friendly and hospitable efforts in creating an enjoyable working environment. Without such
convenience, learning wouldn’t have been at ease.

I would also like to register my sincere thanks to the administration and Teaching staff of the
University of Juba, College of Computer Science and Information Technology in particular, for
the standing firm in supporting us during these hard trying moments the country and University
has been undergoing.

Finally, many thanks to friends, colleagues and family for giving me the support, moral and
courage that I needed most throughout this amazing career training.
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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The College of Computer Science and Information Technology, at the University of Juba,
requires its students to undertake an industrial training, referred to as an internship/ professional
training program in a technology related environment, as a requisite for the partial fulfilment of a
Bachelor Degree with Honors in Information Technology. The internship is a course unit of its
own which is awarded credits upon completion.

But of what use is a raw skill, unless it is sharpened? Because Information Technology is a hands
on carrier, the university lecture hall, library and textbook knowledge is to be supplemented by a
three-month training in a reputable Information Technology organization, company or
government entity. This training therefore not only helps students to gain practical and analytical
knowledge and skills, but also to gather a valuable understanding of their major fields and
present them with a clear view of how their courses transform into their real carriers at the work
place.

Once in a blue, I realized my dream of pursuing an internship at a reputable organization with


modern Information Technology practices in the name of MTN South Sudan. The Human
Resource Department of MTN South Sudan recommended and gave me an internship place with
the Technology department from date 6 th of September 2016, to the 9th of December 2016, a
period approximately three months.

During the twelve weeks training, I was attached to four major sections of the Technology
department in MTN Head Quarters in Hai Cinema. These include;

1. Information Technology Infrastructure


2. Telecom Billing and Charging
3. VAS Applications
4. Core Network

Therefore, this document details the training modules during the three-month period in the above
sections of the Technology department.

It further discusses the SWOT Analysis of the training and closes up with the recommendations
to improve the internship programs in the Technology department of MTN South Sudan.
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Table of Contents
CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION ...............................................................................................................7
SOUTH SUDAN’S TELECOMMUNICATIONS INDUSTRY ..................................................................7
OVERVIEW OF MTN SOUTH SUDAN ..............................................................................................8
CHAPTER 2: THE INTERNSHIP PLAN ................................................................................................... 10
CHAPTER 3: THE TRAINING PROGRAM.............................................................................................. 11
IT INFRASTRUCTURE .................................................................................................................. 11
Managing Computers on a Domain............................................................................................. 12
Wide Area Network WAN .......................................................................................................... 13
CORE NETWORK ......................................................................................................................... 14
The GSM / WCDMA Network ..................................................................................................... 15
GPRS ARCHITECTURE (Data) ....................................................................................................... 19
Tasks Performed ....................................................................................................................... 21
VALUE ADDED SERVICES (VAS) .................................................................................................. 22
Tasks Performed ....................................................................................................................... 23
TELECOM CHARGING AND BILLING ................................................................................................ 24
Tasks Performed ....................................................................................................................... 33
CHAPTER 4: LEARNING EXPERIENCES ................................................................................................ 34
Knowledge acquired.................................................................................................................... 34
SKILLS LEARNT .............................................................................................................................. 36
CHAPTER 5: SWOT ANALYSIS ............................................................................................................ 37
Strength ...................................................................................................................................... 37
Weaknesses................................................................................................................................. 37
Opportunities ............................................................................................................................... 38
Threats ........................................................................................................................................ 38
CHAPTER 6 ....................................................................................................................................... 39
RECOMMENDATIONS.................................................................................................................. 39
CONCLUSION............................................................................................................................... 40
REFRENCES AND SOURCES USED ............................................................................................... 41
APPENDIX ................................................................................................................................... 42
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CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION

SOUTH SUDAN’S TELECOMMUNICATIONS INDUSTRY

Following a referendum, South Sudan seceded from Sudan in 2011and became an independent
nation, having been deprived of investments for decades and inheriting one of the least
developed telecommunications and internet markets in the world.

Although this potentially can create investment opportunities for infrastructure and service
providers, such developments largely depend on a negotiated end to the protracted civil war
which erupted in December 2013, and which has caused considerable mayhem and bloodshed,
discouraging investors from almost all sectors.

South Sudan’s national Ministry of Telecommunications and Postal Services (MOTPS) is


responsible for the development of the country’s telecommunications infrastructure and to
oversee and regulate the telecommunications network and service providers within the country.

South Sudan has no formal telephone network hence telecommunications services are provided
through satellite and mobile communications networks. Various large mobile phone providers
are present in the country covering most urban centers. Mobile Internet is available on all
networks however data costs are still relatively high.

However, telecommunication companies, MTN, Zain and Vivacell, have made a dash to country
in the last ten years since the CPA. There is varied service from internet service providers (ISPS)
to Mobile Telecommunications. With technology advancement through the implementation of
the WCDMA or 3G technology, subscribers get data on mobile via the data bundles provided by
the Mobile companies operating in the country.

Because of the absence of a fiber optic that comes with several benefits like faster, cheaper and
affordable internet, the internet provided by the Internet Service Providers and the Mobile
Operators is expensive, sometimes slow yet absent in many areas.

Over the years, the number of people using mobile phones have significantly increased, not only
in South Sudan, but in the whole continent. This is a promising trend for both mobile companies
and mobile manufacturers in the business.
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OVERVIEW OF MTN SOUTH SUDAN

MTN South Sudan is part of the South African based multinational mobile telecommunications
company; the MTN Group, formerly known as M-Cell. The MTN Group operates in many
African, European and Asian countries.

When South Sudan became independent on the 9th of July 2011, MTN formalized its operations
as a separate operating company, independent from MTN Sudan, hence expanding its previously
limited space in the young nation. Since its formalization, it has spread over the country though
there still remains areas that cannot yet access the MTN network.

With an eye for expansion, MTN South Sudan’s CEO, Mr. Philip Besiimire says “Our strategy
for deployment in South Sudan is to focus on the basics; namely working on deploying adequate
infrastructure such as new telecoms towers and identifying partners to help us increase our
capacities,”.

On the company’s Role in developing communities around the country, the CEO continues to
challenge that “MTN will have to play more than just a communications and connectivity role;
we will embed ourselves into the community through an aggressive corporate social
responsibility (CSR) program,”. Source: http://www.africaoutlookmag.com/outlook-
features/mtn-south-sudan

Developing professionals

In order to provide the business with the right tools for success, MTN South Sudan has an active
national secondment talent exchange program where they can borrow professionals from the
MTN Group in the various countries, both on a short term and long term basis.

Short-term training initiatives are utilized when the company introduces a new product to the
market, and long-term training is used to up-skill and equip South Sudan to become a sustainable
business environment for MTN in the future.

As a Group with a national presence, MTN South Sudan advantageously has the option to send
people to other countries as another method of personal development. With a comprehensive
student program for African university students who seek employment in the sector, the
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company is also able to offer a three-month internship scheme extending across most of its
departments.

MTN South Sudan is headquartered in Hai Jerusalem, North East Juba, opposite Juba One
primary school. Within its structure are six departments namely: Sales and Distribution,
Marketing, Finance, Human Resources, Technology and Corporates.

These departments are subdivided into various sections with a number of personnel with
distinguished duties.

MTN SOUTH SUDAN COVERAGE


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CHAPTER 2: THE INTERNSHIP PLAN


This internship was performed in the Technology department of MTN South Sudan, at the
headquarters in Hai Cinema, Juba.

As the name technology implies, for an intern, the technology department is unique in the area of
technical or practical knowledge. This is so because the knowledge and skills acquired from the
university need to be put in a practical sense of the real world, otherwise these skills and
knowledge would be useless as a student wouldn’t know how to apply them in the work place.

The Technology department houses the various personnel whose jobs are related to the
company’s technological needs. From infrastructure support, VAS with databases to network
personnel, the Technology department has brought all these technical mindsets into a single
room.

The internship program within the Technology department started on the 6 th of September
through 9th of December 2016.

Within the Technology Department, there are several sections of which I was attached to. These
include the following, together with the duration taken during the training;

 Information Technology infrastructure support ITSS (4 weeks)


 Information Systems (4 weeks)
a. Value Added Services (VAS) 10 days
b. Charging and Billing (10 days)
 Core Network (4 weeks)
a. Circuit Switched (Voice)
b. Packet Switched (Data)

It is also worth noting that the training wasn’t just restricted to the above schedule. All the
Personnel in the Technology department were friendly and eager to help the intern team in one
way or the other. This was evidenced by the training and knowledge sharing conducted by those
whose sections were not included in the above schedule. This hence provided the opportunity of
learning outside the boundaries defined by the above schedule.
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CHAPTER 3: THE TRAINING PROGRAM


The training program is summarized as below;

IT INFRASTRUCTURE

IT Infrastructure refers to the combination of hardware, software, network resources and services
required for the existence, operation and management of an enterprise’s information Technology
environment.

In MTN South Sudan, the IT Infrastructure section focuses on aligning IT services with the
needs of business (Andualem Makonen, Manager IT infrastructure and LISO).

The section manages a number of servers and storage infrastructure which are accessed by users
over the network infrastructure. A Storage Area Network Switch (SAN switch) connects servers
and shared pools of storage devices that are organized inform of RAIDS, thereby helping in
moving the storage traffic. This infrastructure makes the whole idea become a unified system
like a box where all the above are done in the same.

With the above practice, it is worth mentioning that MTN South Sudan has a convergent system /
convergent IT infrastructure. In simple terms, convergence is the combination of two or more
distinct entities, for this case storage and serves into a single device.

The newer world of convergence is towards a hyper converged infrastructure where resources
are shared between the grid, the cloud and utility systems for higher efficiencies, quicker
deployments and lower costs to operate. Mr. Andualem reiterates MTN will employ a hyper
converged system depending on the availability and demands created.

With convergence comes the need to maintain, upgrade and manage the IT infrastructure of an
organization as well as a help desk team that trains new users of the infrastructure and as well
trains users on new technology.

The Technology section concerned with creating, setting up and continuous maintenance of the
Information Technology Infrastructure is the IT Infrastructure Team. This is a dedicated team
that ensures that all the MTN employees have their technology gadgets just at their table.
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From setting up converged communication systems to managing the systems, the section does
more than this.

Managing Computers on a Domain

Windows domains provide network administrators with a way to manage a large number of PCs
and control them from one place. One or more servers — known as domain controllers — have
control over the domain and the computers on it.

When a computer is joined to a domain, it doesn’t use its own local user accounts. User accounts
and passwords are managed on the domain controller. When a user logs into a computer on
MTN’s domain, the computer authenticates the user account name and password with the
domain controller. This means the user can log in with the same username and password on any
computer joined to the domain.

Network administrators can MTN Group policy on the domain controller. Each computer on the
domain will get these settings from the domain controller and they’ll override any local settings
users specify on their PCs. All the settings are controlled from a single place. This also “locks
down” the computers. Users cannot change many system settings on a computer joined to a
domain.

Networking Computers

Multiple computers are connected together to form a network where they can share resources and
information.

Networking devices like cables, routers and switches and protocols found in the OSI model make
computer networking realizable. In the training, two of the most popular networks created
include;

Local Area Network LAN

A local area network (LAN) is a group of computers and associated devices that share a common
communications line within a distinct geographic area such as an office or a commercial
establishment.
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A local area network may serve as few as two or three users (for example, in a small-office
network) or several hundred users in a larger office like the MTN Hai Cinema Office. LAN
networking comprises of cables, switches, routers and other components that let users connect to
internal servers, websites and other LANs via wide area networks.

Ethernet and Wi-Fi are the two primary ways to enable LAN connections and both are used in
MTN offices. Ethernet is a specification that enables computers to communicate with each other.
Wi-Fi uses radio waves to connect computers to the LAN.

Wide Area Network WAN


A WAN connects more than one LAN and is used for larger geographical areas.

A WAN works in a similar fashion to a LAN, just on a larger scale. Typically, TCP/IP is the
protocol used for a WAN in combination with devices such as routers, switches, firewalls and
modems.

Tasks Performed
 Designing (Sketch) and installing a LAN
 Managing A LAN; Password control of a wireless LAN
 Connecting two LANS using a router to form a WAN
 Cabling of Shielded Twisted Pair cables with RJ45s
 Installing operating systems
 Connecting computers to a domain
 Setting up and connecting Network printers
 Creating and Managing user accounts
 Updating and upgrading software and applications
 IT Help Desk
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CORE NETWORK

Introduction

Telecommunication is the electronic exchange of any type of data over a wide variety of
information transmitting technologies and systems.

This industry gathers different personnel from different backgrounds, not just limited to telecom
graduates (Yousif Izedin). Mr. Izedin said he specialized in computer science and was amazed
how he got into working in the telecom sector though graduating as a computer science graduate.
This therefore makes the telecom industry one that employees different professionals from
different backgrounds and hence an interesting and enjoyable industry to work in.

The training focuses on Mobile Communication, based on the Global System for Mobile
Communication (GSM). It also focuses on systems within the organization that use the Network
in one way or the other

The Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM)

Global system for mobile communication (GSM) is a globally accepted standard for digital
cellular communication. GSM is the name of the standardization group established in 1982 to
create a common European mobile telephone standard that would formulate specifications for a
Pan-European mobile cellular radio system operating at 900 MHz. For decades now, it has swept
and dominated Africa, including South Sudan.

WCDMA Network

The needs of using internet on mobile phones was revolutionary, and therefore required a
technology that above the majorly voice based GSM generation (2G). This therefore let to the
introduction of a new technology that enabled mobile phone users to browse the internet. This
started with improving and upgrading of the 2G network into versions like 2.5 G through 3G.
These technologies handle both voice and data needs of the mobile phone, at faster rates.
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The GSM / WCDMA Network


The GSM/ WCDMA network is divided into four main areas;

1. The Mobile Station (MS)


2. The Base Station Subsystem (BSS)
3. The Network and switching Subsystem (NSS)
4. The Operation and Support Subsystem (OSS)

The above different elements of the GSM/WCDMA network operate together and the user is
not aware of the different entities within the system.

GSM/ WCDMA ARCHITECTURE


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Description of the Network Elements

Mobile station (MS)

A mobile station consists of the ‘mobile equipment’ (ME) and the ‘subscriber identity module’ (SIM). The
ME is the device known as a cellphone or mobile telephone

Mobile stations (MS), are the section of a GSM cellular network that the user sees and operates.
The ME contains a number known as the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI). This
is installed in the phone at manufacture and "cannot" be changed. It is accessed by the network
during registration to check whether the equipment has been reported as stolen with the help of
the EIR.

The SIM or Subscriber Identity Module contains the information that provides the identity of the
user to the network. It contains a variety of information including a number known as the
International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI).

The mobile station picks radio signals from a broadcasting BTS or RBS.

Base Station Subsystem (BSS)

The Base Station Subsystem (BSS) section of the GSM network architecture is fundamentally
associated with communicating with the mobiles on the network. It consists of two elements:

Base Transceiver Station (BTS): The BTS used in a GSM network comprises the radio
transmitter receivers, and their associated antennas that transmit and receive to directly
communicate with the mobiles. The BTS is the defining element for each cell. The BTS
communicates with the mobiles and the interface between the two is known as the Um interface
with its associated protocols.

Base Station Controller (BSC): The BSC forms the next stage back into the GSM network. It
controls a group of BTSs, and is often co-located with one of the BTSs in its group. It manages
the radio resources and controls items such as handover within the group of BTSs and allocates
channels. It communicates with the BTSs over what is termed as Abis interface.
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Radio Base Station (2G): The RBS, used in a 3G network (WCDMA). It plays the same role as
the BTS only that it supports high speed of both voice and data.

Radio Network Controller (3G): The Radio Network Controller (or RNC) is a governing
element in the WCDMA (UMTS) radio access network(UTRAN) and is responsible for
controlling the Radio Base Stations (RBS) that are connected to it.

Network Switching Subsystem (NSS)

The GSM system architecture contains a variety of different elements, and is often termed the
core network. It provides the main control and interfacing for the whole mobile network. The
major elements within the core network include:

Mobile Services Switching Centre (MSC): The main element within the core network area
of the overall GSM network architecture is the Mobile Switching Services Centre (MSC). The
MSC acts like a normal switching node within a PSTN or ISDN, but also provides additional
functionality to enable the requirements of a mobile user to be supported. These include
registration, authentication, call location, inter-MSC handovers and call routing to a mobile
subscriber. It also provides an interface to the PSTN so that calls can be routed from the mobile
network to a phone connected to a landline. Interfaces to other MSCs are provided to enable calls
to be made to mobiles on different networks.

Home Location Register (HLR): The HLR is a database that contains all the administrative
information about each subscriber along with their last known location. In this way, the GSM
network is able to route calls to the relevant base station for the MS. When a user switches on
their phone, the phone registers with the network and from this it is possible to determine which
BTS it communicates with so that incoming calls can be routed appropriately. Even when the
phone is not active (but switched on) it re-registers periodically to ensure that the network (HLR)
is aware of its latest position.

Visitor Location Register (VLR): This contains selected information from the HLR that
enables the selected services for the individual subscriber to be provided. The VLR can be
implemented as a separate entity, but it is commonly realized as an integral part of the MSC,
rather than a separate entity. In this way access is made faster and more convenient.
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Equipment Identity Register (EIR): The EIR is the entity that decides whether a given
mobile equipment may be allowed onto the network. Each mobile equipment has a number
known as the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI). This number, is installed in the
equipment and is checked by the network during registration. Dependent upon the information
held in the EIR, the mobile may be allocated one of three states - allowed onto the network,
barred access, or monitored upon request.

Authentication Centre (AuC): The AuC is a protected database that contains the secret key
also contained in the user's SIM card. It is used for authentication and for ciphering on the radio
channel.

Gateway Mobile Switching Centre (GMSC): The GMSC is the point to which a ME
terminating call is initially routed, without any knowledge of the MS's location. The GMSC is
thus in charge of obtaining the MSRN (Mobile Station Roaming Number) from the HLR based
on the MSISDN (Mobile Station ISDN number, the "directory number" of a MS) and routing the
call to the correct visited MSC.

SMS Gateway (SMS-G): The SMS-G or SMS gateway is the term that is used to collectively
describe the two Short Message Services Gateways defined in the GSM standards. The two
gateways handle messages directed in different directions. The SMS-GMSC (Short Message
Service Gateway Mobile Switching Centre) is for short messages being sent to an ME. The
SMS-IWMSC (Short Message Service Inter-Working Mobile Switching Centre) is used for short
messages originated with a mobile on that network. The SMS-GMSC role is similar to that of the
GMSC, whereas the SMS-IWMSC provides a fixed access point to the Short Message Service
Centre.

Operation and Support Subsystem (OSS)

The OSS or operation support subsystem is an element within the overall GSM network
architecture that is connected to components of the NSS and the BSC/RNC. It is used to control
and monitor the overall GSM network and it is also used to control the traffic load of the BSS.
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VOICE VS DATA

Voice communications in the telecommunications network is based on circuit switched technology


where the parties involved initiate and setup a communication whereas data is concerned with the
packet switched technology where data is transferred as packets with destination id.

The below diagram illustrates the diversion between data and voice communications

GPRS ARCHITECTURE (Data)


The General Packet Radio Service, GPRS network architecture is based on that used by the basic
GSM system but has additional entities including the GGSN and SGSN to allow packet data
transmission.

With GPRS providing a move from circuit switched technology to packet switched technology, it
was necessary to upgrade the network architecture to accommodate this. To accommodate this the
GPRS network architecture added new elements including the GGSN and SGSN to the existing
GSM network to be able to accommodate this.
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SGSN

The SGSN or Serving GPRS Support Node element of the GPRS network handles the
communication with MSs and the establishment of the connection between an MS and the PDN
via the GGSN. It provides a variety of services to the mobiles:

 Packet routing and transfer

 Mobility management

 Attach/detach

 Logical link management

 Authentication

 Charging data

There is a location register within the SGSN and this stores location information (e.g., current cell,
current VLR). It also stores the user profiles (e.g., IMSI, packet addresses used) for all the GPRS
users registered with the particular SGSN.

GGSN

The GGSN, Gateway GPRS Support Node is one of the most important entities within the GPRS
network architecture.
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The GGSN organizes the interworking between the GPRS network and external packet switched
networks to which the mobiles may be connected. These may include both Internet and X.25
networks.

The GGSN can be considered to be a combination of a gateway, router and firewall as it hides
the internal network to the outside. In operation, when the GGSN receives data addressed to a
specific user, it checks if the user is active, then forwarding the data. In the opposite direction,
packet data from the mobile is routed to the right destination network by the GGSN.

Tasks Performed
Using GPRS network access tools for;

 Daily system health check through commands in the SGSN and GGSN interfaces
 Checking subscribers’ statuses on the GPRS network to generate reports based on
whether they are active (browsing), attached (connected but doing nothing), unstable or
idle.
 Checking the connectivity of RNCs to the SGSN
 Trouble shooting connectivity problems
 Viewing subscriber profiles
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VALUE ADDED SERVICES (VAS)

A value-added service (VAS) is a non-core service that is beyond voice calls and fax
transmissions. This service is used by MTN to inform subscribers of the products and services
being offered. Its primary purpose is to promote the primary business of the company. This
service is possible due to capabilities of the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD).

Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD)

USSD Gateway is a GSM node that enables high-speed two-way communication between
subscribers and applications across the GSM network. USSD Gateway enables information flow
between USSD-based applications and network nodes, which include the HLR, VLR, and MSC.
USSD Gateway functioning is not constrained by vendor-specific network components. USSD
Gateway supports seamless flow of information across network between subscribers and Public
Land Mobile Network (PLMN) operator-defined applications. The flow of information is
transparent between subscribers and intermediate network nodes. USSD Gateway maintains
details of all the subscriber-originated and network-originated sessions.

USSD Strings

USSD strings are used to send a service request. Each string is preceded by an asterisk (*) and
terminated by a hash character (#).

Syntax:
*<service code>*<arguments>#
Where service code is the code assigned for accessing the USSD application and args is the
position of the application in the main menu or an input to complete a service request.
E.g. *141*<16_digit_pin_number># is the syntax of the string used to recharge the account of a
subscriber.
Messaging Scenarios
Mobile Station (MS) initiated USSD Requests
A USSD request, sent by a mobile to the network, is a mobile- initiated USSD request.
Subscribers can send requests to applications configured on USSD Gateway. These requests may
be sent to retrieve information or to make enquires. The mobile station (MS) can either be in the
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HPLMN or VPLMN. If the MS is in the HPLMN, requests are directed through the HLR. If the
MS is in VPLMN, USSD requests are directed through the MSC/VLR/HLR.
For non-configured services, USSD sends a response “Service not supported”.

Network-Initiated USSD Requests


Network components, such as the MSC, VLR, HLR, gsmSCF, or USSD applications send a
USSD request towards a MS. The requests are sent to subscribers prompting for information or
Data. All configured applications can initiate USSD sessions. If the application is not configured,
USSD Gateway rejects the requests.
Tasks Performed
During the USSD training, I performed the following tasks;
 Configuring a USSD string with a service code and arguments
 Sending a network-initiated USSD request to multiple subscribers
 Sending a network-initiated USSD requests to a specified number of subscribers
 Backing up the Messages Database
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TELECOM CHARGING AND BILLING

Telecom Billing is a process of collecting usage, aggregating it, applying required usage and
rental charges and finally generating invoices for the customers. Telecom billing process also
includes receiving and recording payments from the customers.

BILLING SYSTEMS

There could be very complex charging scenarios, which would be difficult to handle manually.
MTN South Sudan uses Convergent Billing, a state-of-the-art Billing Systems which handles
billing tasks very efficiently and provide lots of flexibilities to offer services with different price
structures.
Billing systems are often viewed as accounts receivable as the billing system assists in the
collection receipt of money from customers. Billing systems are also part of accounts payable
for inter – carrier settlements as customers often use services from other companies such as
roaming and call completion through other networks.
The functionalities provided by the Convergent Billing solution includes;

 Rating & Billing: This involves rating the products or services usage and producing
monthly bills.
 Payment Processing: This involves posting of the customer payments to customer’s
accounts.
 Credit control and collections: This involves chasing the outstanding payments and
taking appropriate actions to get the payments.
 Disputes and adjustments: This involves recording any customer disputes against their
bills and creating adjustments to refund the disputed amount in order to settle the
disputes.
 Pre-pay and post-pay services: This involves supporting both pre-paid and post-paid
customer base.
 Inter-carrier settlements: This involves sharing of revenue between carriers that
provide services to each other's customers.
 Products & services: This involves providing flexible way to maintain various products
and services and sell them individually or in packages.
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 Discount applications: This involves defining various discount schemes in order to


reduce customer churn and attract and increase customer base.

Billing Types

MTN South Sudan provides the following types of Billing

 Post-paid Billing: Customers buy products and services and use them throughout
the month, and by the end of the month, invoices are generated and sent to the
customers to make their due payment.
 Interconnect Billing: Sometimes called Partner Billing, is a revenue management
strategy where revenue is shared between carriers that provide services to each
other's customers, for instance between Vivacell and MTN.
 Roaming Charging: When a customer goes from MTN’s coverage area to
another operator's coverage area, MTN pays marginal charges to the other
operator to provide services to their customers, and vice versa. Such types of
charges are settled through roaming billing.
 Convergent Billing: Convergent billing is the integration of all service charges
onto a single customer invoice. Convergent billing means creating a unified view
of the customer and all services Mobile, Fixed, IP, etc. provided to that customer.
 Pre-pay Billing: A billing mechanism where customer pays in advance and after
that starts using a service. Usually, prepaid customers do not receive any invoice
and they are charged in real time by the highly available billing systems called
IN Intelligent Network.

Billing System Requirements


A Billing system should be composed of a series of independent applications that, when run
together, are referred to as the billing system. MTN’s convergent Billing system provides the
following major functionalities with a depth of flexibility, but not limited to;

 Customer-interface Management: Handles customer initiated contact,


oversee outbound customer contact, and manage the contact life cycle
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 Customer-interface Management: Handles customer initiated contact,


oversee outbound customer contact, and manage the contact life cycle.

 Order Management: Captures products & services order and manages the
order-entry life cycle, and oversee the order-completion life cycle.

 Discounting: Gives various types of discounts on different usages and rentals.


Invoicing: The system performs billing inquiry, generates bills, processes
deposits, performs account administration and processes financial
information.

 Multilingual Support: Multilingual support involves providing invoices and


customer care
services in multiple languages.

 Partner revenue management: Partner revenue management are the sharing


of revenue
between carriers that provide services to each other's customers.

 Auditing & Security: Performs data audits and integrity checks for the
security of the system.
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CHARGING AND BILLING ARCHITECTURE

CRM System
The Customer Relationship Management is the first system from where a customer order is
captured and customer is created into the system.
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The CRM system keeps customer-related information along with product and services. CRM
either contacts with the billing system and billing system contacts with provisioning system to
provision the services and network inventory system as well to assign phone numbers or IP
addresses, etc. or the CRM system itself contacts with provisioning system to provision the
services and network inventory system as well to assign phone numbers or IP addresses, etc.
Provisioning System
This system takes commands either from the Billing System or CRM System to activate,
deactivate and suspend the services. After taking provisioning commands, this system contacts
with core network system to activate, deactivate or suspend the services. After a successful
provisioning, this system sends a response back to either the Billing System or the CRM system
depending on who sent it the last command.

Network Inventory System NIS


This system maintains all the network identifiers like phone numbers, MSISDN, IP addresses, e-
mail addresses, etc., and technically it is called Network Inventory System.
Depending on the system architecture, either CRM or Billing System contacts NIS to obtain a
required network identifier and assigns it to the customer at the time of order creation.
This system is responsible to maintain the life cycle of network identifiers which starts with
available and then flows through different stages like activation, suspend, terminate, quarantine,
and again available.

Network Switches
Generally, Billing System does not interact with network switches. Network switches are
responsible to provide all the services to the end customers based on what services have been
provisioned for the customer. These systems are responsible for controlling calls, data download,
SMS transfer, etc., and finally generating Call Detail Records CDR.
Network Switches include MSC, SMSC, SGSN, GGSN and MMSC.

Mediation System
The Mediation System collects CDRs from different network elements in different formats.
The Mediation System processes all the CDRs and converts them into a format compatible to the
Billing System.
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Data Ware House System (DWH):


This is a downstream system for the Billing System and usually keeps tons of historical data
related to the customers. Billing System dumps various customer information into the DWH
system. This information includes service usage, invoices, payments, discounts and adjustments,
etc. All this information is used to generate various types of management reports and for
business intelligence and forecast.
Payment Gateway:
All the payment channels use payment gateway to post payments to the billing system to settle
down customer invoices. Usually, Payment gateway exposes a kind of API Application
Programming Interface to the outside world to post the payments to the Billing System. The
API can be used by any external resource to post the payment.

Types of Billed Customers

 Mobile Pre-Paid Customers: These are the customers, who use Mobile services by
paying
their charges in advance. For example, GSM, GPRS phone users. These customers
recharge
their phone based on their requirement. They are not billed by the Billing System
 Mobile Post-Paid Customers: These are GSM and GPRS phone users, who use Mobile
services by paying their charges after every invoice they receive. These customers pay
their bills on monthly or bi-monthly basis.
 Fixed Pre-Paid Customers: These are the customers, who use fixed line, i.e., landline
services by paying their charges in advance. For example, PSTN, WiMAX phone users.
These
customers recharge their phone based on their requirement. They are not billed by the Billing
System
 Fixed Post-Paid Customers: Fixed line users, i.e., landline service users who pay their
charges after every invoice they receive. For example, PSTN, WiMAX phone users.
These customers pay their bills on monthly or bi-monthly basis.

Usage Capturing
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A customer starts generating usage as soon as he/she starts using the products and services sold
by MTN SOUTH SUDAN.
An Event
An event is a single billable occurrence of product usage, typically captured electronically by a
network. For example, when a mobile phone user makes a telephone call, an event is generated
which contains information about that phone call, such as the call duration, the time of day the
call
was made, and the number that was called.
A CDR
An event along with all its attributes is called Call Detail Record CDR. A data collector in the
network switch captures the usage in the form of Call Detail Record CDR / Usage Detail Record
UDRs.
These raw CDRs/UDRs are in turn converted by the mediation system into a format
understandable by the Billing System. There are different network elements controlling the
services and producing different types of CDRs; for example, for GSM telephony:

 Voice calls are captured by the MSC


 SMS traffic is captured by the SMSC.
 Data traffic is captured by the GGSN.
 MMS traffic is captured by the MMSC.
 Roaming CDRs are captured by roaming partner's switching element.

CDR CAPTURING ILLUSTRATION


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CDR Attributes
A CDR keeps usage details along with various other useful information which includes;

 Calling Party number


 Called Party number
 Call Start date and time
 Call duration
 Call Type Voice, SMS, Data
 A unique sequence number identifying the record.

Additionally, a CDR may also record other information such as:

 The identifier of the telephone exchange


 The result of the call whether it was answered, busy, etc.
 Trunk or route used to connect the call.
 Any fault condition encountered.
Indicators that note the use of features such as call forwarding, three-way calling.
Any facilities used during the call, such as call waiting or call diversion.
The accurate recording of all required information in a UDR depends on the logic of the
switch
plus the switch specific table entries. If either of these cannot record the data accurately,
the mediation system will not be able recognize the completed calls and pass them to the
billing system.

CDR Processing
The Mediation System collects CDRs from different network elements in different formats.
Various network elements generate CDRs in ASN.1 format. The Mediation System processes all
the CDRs and converts them into a format compatible to the downstream system, which is the
Billing System. The Mediation System applies various rules on CDRs to process them.
There may be a requirement to filter out all the calls, which are having call duration less than 5
seconds, the best place to filter out such types of calls will be at Mediation System level. Same
way, if some extra information is required in the CDRs which is critical to billing, then
P a g e | 32

Mediation System will help in providing such information based on some other attributes
available within the CDRs. Once the collected CDRs are processed, Mediation System pushes all
the CDRs to the Billing System using FTP because the Mediation and Billing systems run on
different machines.

CDR Rating

Rating Engine receives the events in the form of data records called as Call Detail Records CDRs
or Usage Detail Records UDRs, which describe the use of a product/service. A CDR is a string
of data that contains call information such as call date and time, call length, calling party, called
party, etc., which are used to rate the events.

The customer's information determines the rate plan (rating tariff) to use in charge/price
calculation. The rating engine uses the rating tables, and the event information from the CDRs to
calculate the actual charge for each call.

Typical Billing Process


Considering THE above system architecture, After a call is made or a usage is generated by the
end customer, the mediation system gathers usage data from the network switch and builds a
call-detail record CDR.
The CDR is then stored until it can be rated. To rate the call, the CDR is examined to see if the
call is, a local call that is covered by a local-area calling plan, international call or a toll call.
Information such as the time of the call was placed and city code or country codes are used to
calculate the rate for the call.
Once each call is rated, this information is stored until the invoice is run, usually once a month.
When the invoice is run, other non-usage charges, such as discounts or monthly fees, can be
applied to the bill or invoice.
There could be rating time discount or billing time discount, different payments done by the
customers, different adjustments given, all this information contributes in final invoice
generation. This information is then converted in a format, which can be printed in a readable
form. Finally, the envelope is printed, stuffed with enclosures, and mailed to the end customer.
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Tasks Performed
 Provisioning subscriber numbers
 Replacing lost subscriber sim packs
 Activating numbers
 Interacting with the charging nodes OCS
 Generating CDR reports
 Generating CDR invoices
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CHAPTER 4: LEARNING EXPERIENCES

Knowledge acquired

User experience Design (UX)

User experience design (UX, UXD, UED or XD) is the process of enhancing user satisfaction
with a product by improving the usability, accessibility, and pleasure provided in the interaction
with the product.

With many of the user products like the mostly used USSD interactive products, I have gained
sufficient knowledge in putting the usability, accessibility and satisfaction of the end user at the
core of any product design. This surely matches with my university knowledge of application
development, with extreme programming.

User Interface Design (UI)

While User Experience is a conglomeration of tasks focused on optimization of a product for


effective and enjoyable use; User Interface Design is its compliment, the look and feel, the
presentation and interactivity of a product. At the University, I have been developing Graphical
user interfaces commonly known as GUI for different applications, both desktop and web based.
While at the internship, I have improved the knowledge that I had prior to the training, by
involving in the study and discussions of the user interfaces of the systems used by the
employees of MTN South Sudan.

Programming

Programming is a handy skill. Having done some programming here and there at the university, I
was excited with the back end Database programming knowledge that I acquired in the
internship.

This covered the CRUD functions in a real work environment. i.e.

 Create: For creating Databases and Tables


 Retrieve: Retrieving information from the Database, often in information regarding
subscribers, product users and employees.
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 Update: Updating employee information or subscriber information as in subscriber


registration information.
 Delete: Deleting information from a database/table. An example was with the USSD
Messages Database, which should be backed up and deleted if the space on the server
becomes filled up.

Furthermore, I now have an insight into USSD programming together with the USSD nodes.
This acquired knowledge can now help me in designing a user program like an educational based
mobile system for viewing national results using USSD codes.

Networks

At the university, I saw networks only in one dimension; computer networks. But today, I can
boldly explain networks in the Telecom Sector.

From making a call to getting a response from a server using a phone (mobile station), there are
several structures in the telecom architecture (GSM and WCDMA) that make these possible. In
fact, they occur in a few seconds to the extent that one will not think of the Technology behind
them. The technology behind them is comprised of different structures that broadcast signals to
users, collect user requests and processes the requests in a few seconds, with profound user
satisfaction.

At the same time, I have gained knowledge on computer networks while at this internship. This
covered the setting up a Local Area Network. A simple architecture in a small technical room
involved running UTP cables to four computers. Everything started from a basic level;
terminating of the cables, testing the cables, setting up the room including the router and the
switch. Much as I learnt this at the University, I have practically learnt it in the internship
program.

Analytical knowledge

Within the internship schedule, Systems were part and parcel of the training. Therefore, I
accumulated more knowledge on my prior university knowledge of System Analysis and Design.
Often, these systems were from different vendors and as a result, learning was at a larger extent
P a g e | 36

due to the different unique solutions the systems provide. I was in position to understand the
activity diagrams, class diagrams, sequence diagrams and use cases.

With this, I now have an upper hand in not only designing and developing my final graduation
project, but also in designing and developing systems for clients.

SKILLS LEARNT

Communication skills

My “People skills” has greatly improved thanks to this internship training. The modes of
communication in the training from verbal communications to mail communications have
strengthened my communications skills to a better level

Organizational skills

Organizational Behavior defines how employees and employers act in organizations. With many
organizations having policies that are to be followed, it is worth noting that before these
policies, comes personal attitude and behavior. This training has nurtured my understanding of
organizational behavior.

Networking

Technical skills are necessary but insufficient for succeeding in management. In today’s
increasingly competitive and demanding workplace, employees can’t succeed on their technical
skills alone. They also have to have good people skills.

This is exactly the positive plus I have acquired out of the technical trainings. Via the
networking, I have learnt how to work with, understand and motivate other people, both
individually and in groups.

Problem solving

Conceptual skills are vital in solving problems. From day one of the training, to the last day,
several training sessions have involved problem solving that require the mental ability to analyze
and diagnose, for a solution.
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CHAPTER 5: SWOT ANALYSIS

Strength

 The training had great breadth and depth and so provides interns with real experience
to learn a much bigger portion of the needed technology.
 Excellent relationship and collaboration with the Technology department staff and
other staff across the divisions
 A lot of expertise available. This includes, expert personnel, skill in utilizing
technology and in working with different systems, the department is often at the
cutting edge of technological innovation.
 Availability of different vendors in the department with additional expertise
 Internet Access. Internet is a learner’s cup of tea. Learning significantly improves
with the access to internet that enables research, access to tutorials, sharing of
resources and communication. This was provided during the internship project with
MTN South Sudan.
 The training was made easier with the provision of a desktop computer with a user
account including a company mail. This aided the communication as well as the
practical aspects of the training.

Weaknesses

 Lots of catch up necessary in preservation of an internship place


 Fewer technology staff due to the effect of downsizing. This affects the training in such a
way that whenever the trainer is busy or taken up by other business, the training comes to
a stand still
 Trainers wear too many hats. Knowledge and expertise is not always shared evenly
because the trainers are having a lot to do, sometimes one in a whole section like Izedine
in the Packet Switching Section.
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Opportunities

 Several expertise (from out sourcing companies) in the technology department can be
tapped for consultation and learning
 Many relationships with vendors that could be turned into partnerships for further
learning and or first job acquisition.

Threats

 Poor scheduling with no time allocations. This makes it hard for interns to balance
between the internship program and other activities like college activities and part time
jobs.
 Intern incentives: Interns are students. While it is a university recommendation that they
do internship training to further their knowledge and skills it is also part of the Corporate
Social Responsibility of an organization, to empower those it serves. The notion here is
that students are faced with differing financial conditions ranging from one intern to the
other. Many times, students foot their own bills including but not limited to; transport and
lunch bills throughout the day.
 The country’s rate of inflation is becoming a stumbling block towards the internship
program.
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CHAPTER 6

RECOMMENDATIONS

Information Technology is a hands on course. It requires practical hands on experience for those
yet “raw” students without what employers refer to as “Work Experience”. For a course of this
kind, any institution offering it would love to see its students get accepted in a company that
reflects the use of modern technology.

The issue is not just getting an internship place. The biggest issue lies within the question “is the
company, organization or institution capable of giving the much needed technological, hands on
and employee experience to the intern?” Whether or not, this question is very valid in the field of
Information Technology.

To many students, it doesn’t matter. What many need is the approval of the final internship
report, and they think all is well with them. No! That isn’t the case with technology and those
who want to be successful tech gurus. The biggest puzzle remains “Which organization/
company/institution can give that quality hands on internship?”

In the context of South Sudan, such organizations/companies/institutions are numbered! It is


worth noting that the country has few-to-point technology infrastructure where students can
easily get attached to so as they get the quality hands-on experience. The few that exist are not
always enough to accommodate the huge number of internship seekers. So, as a result, internship
requisitions should always be done earlier so as follow ups are made and one can just land to the
organization that gives that handy experience. I am happy I was able to get one at MTN South
Sudan.

With the above said, organizations always have a corporate department. Therefore, as a
recommendation, organizations should embrace a culture of supporting the country’s institutions
via their Corporate Social Responsibility programs. For instance, it could be very thankful, if an
organization approaches the University of Juba and says, “Look, we have 12 intern positions
with our technology department”. Much as organizations should do this, learning institutions also
need to keep in touch with relevant organizations and link them with their students so as
internship training becomes readily available for all students.
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CONCLUSION

As if the time span for the internship should be extended to a further three months, I must
confess that the time I have spent interning with MTN South Sudan resulted in one of the best
learning and working experiences in the field of Information Technology in my life. Not only did
I gain practical skills but also had the opportunity to meet many experienced and fantastic people
both in and out of the field of Information and Communications Technology.

The atmosphere and staff at the Hai Cinema office were always welcoming, making me feel right
at home. Additionally, I felt like I was contributing to the company by assisting the non-technical
staff in their day to day work logs as well as doing the daily tasks of my trainers as part of the
training. The ready-to-help staff in the Technology department have always been by my side,
letting me have the opportunity to learn and interact at any time during the training.

While I was also able to learn a lot from normal office life, I enjoyed being in the Data center(s)
which are the control rooms of the Big Data and technology (“miracle”) behind the
telecommunication industry. Being in the data center ignites my inner desires to pursue
technology to a higher level, with the zeal and will to learn more since technology has become
the backbone to everything. To practically be in the data center and imagine how a basic call is
made in a fewer seconds looks like a miracle. Yes, a miracle because given the flow of data from
the calling party to the called party within seconds is what many people would rather call magic,
hence miracle. The fact that all these happens in a few seconds is triggered by the intelligent
systems in use, bright as buttons!

Finally, the internship was fun and therefore I would encourage MTN South Sudan to continue
giving students this opportunity, not only as a requirement from their college for the award of a
degree, but also as part of a strong corporate social responsibility plan towards strengthening and
building the skills of young people in the institutions and societies around the country, making
sure they are presented with opportunities that shape their future for whatever carrier they intend
to fore take.

“Internship programs keep our dreams towards our beautiful and amazing carriers alive”.
Thanks for giving me this wonderful opportunity
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REFRENCES AND SOURCES USED

1. William, S., 2007, Data and computer communications, 8 th edn, McGraw-Hill,

New York.

2. Behrouz, A., 2007, Data communications and networking, 4 th edn, Pearson

Prentice Hall, New York.

3. http://dlca.logcluster.org/display/public/DLCA/3.4+South+Sudan+Telecomm

unications;jsessionid=7AF1C538F9E162673B7F6A3 ED03890F1.

4. http://www.gurtong.net/Business/Telecommunications/tabid/253/Default.asp

x#sthash.CJFI4f7v.dpuf.

5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Value-added_service

6. http://www.africaoutlookmag.com/outlook-features/mtn-south-sudan
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APPENDIX

In this section, out of the internship plan, I had the pleasure to interact to managers of different
sections based on questionnaires which they respond to. Therefore, the answers to the
interactive questions are the managers’ responses and in one way or the other, have made me
enjoy the period I spent here interning.

Emmanuel Emusu: Interconnect and Roaming Administrator

Topic: Out Sourcing

Outsourcing has certainly revolutionized how businesses operate today. When outsourcing first
started out, it was restricted to low-risk functions. Later, Global companies who wanted to
leverage the cost benefits of outsourcing started outsourcing high-end functions like IT
services to reliable companies.

Question: Are there IT sections that MTN has outsourced? If any, which?

 YES, IT & Network core operations

Question: What are some of the benefits MTN has gained from outsourcing?

 Efficiency since different companies with dedicated & experienced resources attend to various
functions
 Less management overheads
 MTN gets to focus on its core business of providing network to its customers not managing
systems

Question: While most companies across the industry verticals swear by the advantages of
outsourcing, the outsourcing debate continues over its long-term sustainability. Outsourcing
opponents argue that the flip side of outsourcing includes lack of quality control, lack of hold
P a g e | 43

on the project management, and lower prospects of innovation. What has been the case with
MTN SOUTH SUDAN?

 Mixed experiences however with proper management and follow up on the


functionalities outsourced, all aspects of outsourcing can be managed

Question: With the Current Economic situation of South Sudan. Can outsourcing survive the
test of the time?

Yes. It will, however adjustment have to be made to accommodate the economic situation and
rising costs

Monday Systo: Human Resource Manager, MTN South Sudan

Topic: IT in the Work Place

Significant changes in the workplace are the result of new and advanced technology. For the
past generation, technological inventions and improvements seem to be introduced every
week. The trend is guaranteed to continue.

Question: With changing Technology, updating the skills of those working in the technology
department is very vital. How has MTN coped up with this need?

 Staff within the Technology department have been enrolled on e-live courses, that
provides them with the needed skills in the latest technology. As the name suggests,
these courses are online.
 In country and Out country trainings in technology are usually organized, whenever
there is need.
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Question: Creativity and innovation are tools for competitive advantage. What are the
structures put in place to ensure technology employees are creative and innovative?

 MTN has an initiative called innovative champions: one where technology employees
are members by default and are encouraged to come up with ideas, and rewarded.

Talent is what people have when they possess the skills, abilities and aptitudes that enable
them to perform effectively in their roles. They make a difference to organizational
performance through their immediate efforts and they have the potential to make an
important contribution in the future. Talent management aims to identify, obtain, keep and
develop those talented people.

Question: What are the elements of a talent management program in MTN South Sudan?

 Development plans identified


 Critical position succession planning
 Participants technical skills experience

Question: Expatriates play a major role in not only bringing experience, but also in building
the capacity of nationals. What are some of the policies towards a successful expatriate cy cle
in MTN South Sudan?

 Expert policy of rotation: an expatriate comes for a specified duration to a certain


country.
 The expatriates share their knowledge with the national staff during their specified
duration of work in the country
 Standards processes procedures shares by expatriates