Totogi lands BSS deal with Zain Sudan – at Ericsson's likely expense

Zain says it has switched to Totogi's charging-as-a-service platform in war-torn Sudan.

Tereza Krásová, Associate Editor

April 18, 2024

2 Min Read
Zain's logo on its headquarters.

This week, business support system (BSS) developer Totogi announced it has been tapped to provide its charging-as-a-service platform to Zain Sudan. According to the press release, Totogi's solution will replace that from a "large, legacy, incumbent charging vendor." While Zain and Totogi aren't naming the large legacy vendor, Light Reading understands it is Ericsson.

However, there seem to be differing accounts of whether Ericsson is being replaced or Totogi's solution is being added to Zain's existing suite of products to deal with the difficulties of operating in a country gripped by civil war. Light Reading reached out to Zain for clarification but had not heard back at the time of publication.

Totogi states the charging-as-a-service platform is AI-powered and cloud-native, running on AWS cloud. Apart from handling the charging of Zain Sudan's roughly 20 million customers (in a country of around 50 million people), it will also host its running production and disaster recovery environments. The press release points to an 80% reduction in the total cost of ownership as the reason for the move. 

Times of crisis

The transition is said to have taken 18 days. In prepared comments, Zain's CTO Emad Elsheikh stated that it "was executed with remarkable speed and efficiency, showcasing the agility and effectiveness of [Totogi's] solution in managing large-scale subscriber bases under demanding conditions, particularly in times of crisis when traditional on-prem systems are likely to fail."

For a year now, Sudan has been gripped by a civil war, with the army fighting the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), which has sparked a humanitarian crisis and what Reuters has called currently the world's largest displacement crisis

Presumably, placing vital systems to the cloud would reduce the risk of physical damage, assuming the server is away from the fighting.

Earlier this year, Zain and other operators in the country experienced a communications network blackout, which has been attributed to RSF, according to Reuters. Reportedly, RSF was demanding that the telcos restore services to the western Darfur region it controls, which has faced an outage for months. 

As global Internet monitor NetBlocks said in a post on social media, Zain's network connectivity numbers in the country only started to pick up slightly in early March.

The announcement comes after New Zealand telco 2degrees picked Totogi's charging platform in February. Totogi, meanwhile, announced in August it had added support for 2G and 3G, as well as fixed wireless access services.

About the Author(s)

Tereza Krásová

Associate Editor, Light Reading

Associate Editor, Light Reading

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